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UFC declares lightweight title vacant; Penn and Stevenson to fight for title on Jan. 19

According to, the UFC withdrew recognition of Sean Sherk as the promotion’s lightweight champion after the California State Athletic Commission voted on Dec. 4 to reduce his suspension for testing positive for steroids from 12 months to six as opposed to overturning it completely.

With Sherk stripped of the title, the UFC has announced that B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson will fight each other for the vacant belt on Jan. 19 in New Castle England at UFC 80.

Despite no longer possessing the championship, Sherk still remains in the title mix and is expected to fight the winner of the Penn vs. Stevenson bout.

“I have nothing but respect for Sean Sherk and I believe he’s been honest throughout this whole process,” UFC President Dana White is quoted as saying by’s Thomas Gerbasi. “But BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson will be fighting for the lightweight title at UFC 80 on January 19th and Sean Sherk will fight the winner for the title.”

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