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Why should Sean Sherk be top ten?

Yesterday I posted my top ten pound-for-pound list and the list for some reason always draws a strong response.

I couldn’t help respond to a comment inquiring as to whether Sean Sherk’s omission from my top-ten lightweight rankings was intentional. And of course my decision to keep Sherk out was intentional. The question I have is when was the last time Sherk recorded a valid victory at lightweight?

Operative word: valid.

Sorry, but Sherk’s victory over Hermes Franca at UFC 73 this past July is not valid. If a fighter is suspended for testing positive for performance enhancers follow a victory, how can you still consider it a legitimate win? It doesn’t matter to me that Franca also tested positive because steroids are a banned substance and fighters are prohibited from using them.

If you go to Sherdog’s fight finder, you will see that Sherk’s victory is official. However, that’s only because by law the California State Athletic Commission does not have the authority to overturn a decision. Granted, Franca tested positive too so the decision shouldn’t be reversed, but if Sherk had tested positive in Nevada, his win would have been declared a no contest.

I really have no idea whether Sherk has ever used steroids. But you cannot argue the fact that he failed CSAC’s test for performance enhancers and that his appeal was denied. While Sherk’s suspension was reduced by CSAC from 12 months to six, he is still considered guilty. Until Sherk is successful in clearing his name, I just don’t see how anyone can look at the Franca victory and consider it legitimate.

So in my mind, the win over Franca is not really a win, which means that Sherk’s last victory at 155 lbs. was on October 14, 2006 at UFC 64 against Kenny Florian. I mean, it’s 2008 and his last win was in 2006! As such, it wasn’t even a toss up when deciding not to rank Sherk in my lightweight top ten. Let him register a valid victory for the first time in 18 months before making a claim that he’s one of the best lightweight fighters in the world.

If Sherk beats B.J. Penn in May, he’ll be top-ten worthy. And if he doesn’t, he’ll be stuck on the outside looking in.

41 COMMENTS
  • Paul Hanna says:

    I’m seriously thinking Penn is going to win.

    “Sean Sherk, you’re dead!”

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  • Dave Murphy says:

    Sherk does have a pretty solid win over a top ten lightweight in Kenny Florian. Although I agree that he is not a top ten lightweight (and if that match is held again, I like Kenny’s chances) a solid win is a solid win and shouldn’t be ignored.

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Just a quick question Sam in order to negate anyone posing it in the future. Misaki is ranked 8th in your rankings, does the high ranking have anything to do with his win over Akiyama even though it was later changed to a no contest?

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  • FANOFALL"HUGHES" says:

    HOW ABOUT fedor then, he hasnt fought anyone worth a shit, we shall see where he stands after the sylvia fight

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  • Dongbar says:

    Sherk will be top ten when he beats BJ.The first two rounds are the most dangerous for Sherk after that BJ will be gassed while the cardio shark keeps going on and on.Decision win for Sherk!

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  • Gare says:

    I could not agree more, Well put.

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  • HexRei says:

    Fedor doesn’t even GET tested for performance enhancing drugs, so I’m not sure why you’re taking them into account here for Sherk. For all we know Fedor’s been juicing through his whole career and none of his wins are valid either.

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  • Ananymous says:

    That’s funny exluding Sherk on the criteria that he doesn’t have a quality win, but including Fedor. Hypocrisy.

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  • Rich S. says:

    i think he should be in the top 10 simply because he’s had an extremely impressive career.. and if he gets the belt back.. you CAN’T keep him outta the top 10..

    i mean, in roughly 35 fights.. he’s lost only twice.. who to? the two best WW’s in UFC history, GSP and Hughes.. AND it was in a weight class he shouldn’t be fighting in anyway [even though he’s certainly big enough to].

    sooo.. i can understand leaving him out now..but.. if he beats Penn.. you’ll have to throw him in there.. because then he gets a title.. and beats your #4 p4p fighter..

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  • Sven says:

    Sam,

    I was the one rasing the question about Sherk. I actually find your reasoning convincing, I hadn’t thought about it that but. *But* this argumentation leads to other problems.

    If you were to look only att fights won, would Penn really be top four p4p? I mean, the guy has one win 2008, one 2007 (neither of them are even LW top ten right now, perhaps Stevenson could have been considered to place at the very bottom of that list right before that fight, I leave that to greater minds.). His lasts wins were in 2005, which is ancient history when comes the day of rapture, I mean ranking.

    I think most of us tend to give BJ at bit higher ranking that he really has fought for lately, because he is the fighting man of our dreams (or many of us at least, I don’t wish to ascribe ideas to anyone specific I don’t know) and we all believe that he has awsome powers.

    I think it was a writer on this site who talked about BJ’s ‘planet eating abilities’. I liked that phrase, but it’s a slight tad of overhype, (‘Not that there is anything wrong with that’, nod, nod.) right?

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  • Reaser says:

    I was gonna type what #3 and #4 posted….but here’s more…

    Why is Fedor not left off the list then?? He doesn’t get tested for PEDs, since January 1st, 2007 he’s fought only twice, once against a Middleweight and once in a freakshow fight against an opponent who only had one MMA fight coming in.

    Sherk’s not in my personal top ten, but it seems as you would have him in yours if it wasn’t for the CSAC’s ruling, which if Sherk was a different skin color he could have played the race card and denied his alleged use over and over and it would have been dropped. The CSAC is a joke, not quite as big of a joke as WAMMA or YAMMA (both AMMA’s are just trying to get a slice of the money pie, not doing anything good for the sport.)

    Again, 5 oz. staff should just put together their rankings, it would mean a lot more, if rankings mean anything at all anyways, but it would be of more importance than WAMMA’s joke of a setup (two former Sacramento Surge members involved in a MMA or at least at the beginning were, don’t check the joke of a site anymore.)

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  • Reaser says:

    correction for above, make that Sacramento Surge member involved in a MMA “alliance” or at least at the beginning they were….

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  • Evan says:

    Well then Goodbye Fedor.

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  • Ronin says:

    Sean Sherk can never be considered pound for pound in MMA.

    When I think pound-for-pound, I think of all around MMA skills, Sherk does not have other skills , he has one skill Snug n’ Hug. Laying on someone endlessly is not a skill, it’s called rape.

    When there are so many great exciting LW’s in the UFC why would they continue to put Sherk out there?

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  • HexRei says:

    Cause he wins almost always. If you want nonstop excitement rather than the best at the sport, you might want to check out WWE ;)

    And FWIW, people were wondering why Sherk wasn’t on the top ten LW list, not the top ten P4P list (I doubt few people would put him on that list)

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  • HexRei says:

    That last was @ #14 Ronin

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  • HexRei says:

    And Ronin, Sherk’s boxing is actually pretty good. He got the better of Hughes in the standup even though he lost.

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  • jason hughes says:

    sherk had nothing for gsp when he was on the sauce, and sorry his record is smoke and mirrors, because he lost the only meaningful fights of his career and has racked up alot of wins against average fighters.

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  • jason hughes says:

    also i thought that #14 was hillarious and accurate.

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  • HexRei says:

    @#18 “when he was on the sauce”? What are you talking about? He tested clean for that event, friend.

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  • Ronin says:

    HexRei, well he just doesn’t show it that much , if Sherk would just train with Eddie Bravo he could be unstoppable..
    In the fight with Franca he had side control and full mount more times than I could count, and he didn’t even try for 1 submission.
    If your dominating for someone for 20 minutes on the ground and don’t even try for 1 sub then I don’t wanna see you fight again until you learn some BBJ.

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  • HexRei says:

    Ronin,

    I don’t know how to account for that, I speculate that maybe he was afraid of Franca’s bjj (which is some of the best in the world at LW) and so he chose not to risk hanging a limb out there or losing position. I agree it was kind of boring but that wasn’t helped much by Franca’s rather boring bottom game.

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  • Alan Kirk says:

    Everyone likes to go on and on about Sherk not testing clean for that one event against Franca but I think he’s more than solidified a spot in any LW top ten list simply based on his past fights. Let’s not forget that this is a guy who has beaten everyone in his profesional career, most of which was spent at WW, with the exception of Hughes and GSP. Considering that one is the current WW champ and the other is widely considered the “most dominant WW in history”, I’d say that’s not a bad record. Even if you were to put the Franca fight in the No Contest column, that’s far more impressive than any other LW. I think that if he wins against Penn there should be no questrion as to who the top guy at 155 is.

    As for him having a spot on the P4P lists, that’s debateable. I think he has as much of a right to be there as Rampage. Sherk is a strong wrestler with crisp boxing and some submission defense. When is the last time he did anything other than pound someone out? I think he can surely be dominate with his style but one really has to incorporate every aspect of MMA for me to consider them for the P4P list.

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  • Ronin says:

    Huh.. Franca was gassed by 3rd round you can throw away his BJJ black out of the window at that point. Boring bottom game? he couldn’t move, sherk was just laying on him, what could he have done? when someone is laying on you and you can’t kick them in the groin, poke their eyes out knee them to the head, or bite them.
    Tell me how do you get a person off of you?

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  • HexRei says:

    Well, that is BJJ’s primary strength in mma, working from the back. I thought we might see a better rubber guard although I admit Franca is small and Sherk’s shoulders are huge so a finish triangleor gogo would have been a stretch. Still, Franca was unable to even slap anything remotely threatening on Sherk.

    I do agree that Sherk was stifling Franca but isn’t that a good thing? He obviously was working enough to avoid the standup.

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  • king mah mah says:

    There are many unfair standups “marquart and silva” and others that need to be stood up “sherk and franca”

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  • HexRei says:

    There are many unfair standups “marquart and silva” and others that need to be stood up “sherk and franca”

    Oh right, because Franca was so dominating the standup :eyeroll: Franca was beaten on every level of that fight.

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  • Rich S. says:

    so you’ve forgotten that he almost Knocked Sherk Out TWICE with knees??

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  • Alan Kirk says:

    “Almost” doesn’t mean anything. He didn’t and that’s what counts. Sherk kept him from doing any damage that he couldn’t take and kept Franca where he didn’t want to be. Hence, he dominated and won the fight.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    “HOW ABOUT fedor then, he hasnt fought anyone worth a shit, we shall see where he stands after the sylvia fight”

    #4 you obviously are new to this sport or UFC is the be all and end all to you (by the way he beat the UFC HW champ twice by completely hammering him). You havn’t looked his stats up have you. I think you’ll find most FIGHTERS when asked will say he is the best fighter in the world(not pound for pound however).
    As for Sherk. How can you put a drug cheat in the top 10. And please don’t say he was innocent. Truth is, none of us know but he was convicted by the powers at be and lawyers are paid to find some doubt.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    “Fedor doesn’t even GET tested for performance enhancing drugs, so I’m not sure why you’re taking them into account here for Sherk.”

    I hpoe you are never part of any jury. The way it stands is; Sherk cheated and got caught. This means his win is void. Out of all of the top 10 all of them have fought in Japan. Not just Fedor.
    And to say Fedor has not beaten anyone of importance here are a list of fighters he has beaten that have been top 10.

    Noguiera x2
    Mark Hunt
    Mark Coleman x2
    Babalu
    Lindland
    Mirko Crocop
    Heath Herring
    Kevin Randleman
    Kohsaka
    Arona

    As well as Semmy Schilt who is the most dominant K1 fighter to ever put on the gloves.
    No heavyweight has ever had a record as good as Fedors. He has never lost legally and is world sambo champ for god knows how long as well as being the most dominant Pride HW champ by a long way. So don’t talk out of your… and research your facts.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    If Fedor loses to Tim Sylvia it wont be any shame. Tim is 24 and 4 and 1 of those 4 losses was to Top 10 P4P ‘ers and the other 3 to top 10 HWs. There is a case to put Tim in the top 10 P4P despite if he is cool or not.

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  • Alan Kirk says:

    Even taking away the Franca fight, Sherks record of battering all but two fighters he’s faced still stands for itself.

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  • Alan Kirk says:

    It’s good to see someone else who recognizes Sylvia for the absolute MONSTER that he really is. I wish he were still in the UFC. I wanted to see Sylvia vs Mir 2.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    There are plenty of fighters out there with no losses. So be careful what you wish for because you may end up with Kimbo in the top P4P if fighting lesser fighters and winning is the criteria. If Sherk gets a couple of wins againt A grade fighters (Gomi, BJ Penn, FRANCA etc) then he may be worthy.

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  • Rich S. says:

    #34,
    you just called Sylvia a “monster”.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    thanks.. i’m THIIIIIIIS CLOSE to soiling myself after that!
    oh man,
    well,
    i supoooooooose Tim was good like 3 or 4 years ago.. but.. after getting messed up by Mir and AA.. he became a different fighter..
    although, he didn’t look half bad against Nog.. you know.. he was afraid of losing.. so he started fighting like a girl.. but.. in the Nog fight.. he was very aggressive.. then again.. he lost because of that.. so.. he might go RIGHT BACK TO SAME OLD BIG TIM..

    the BIG TIM i hate..

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  • Mike Mick says:

    I wish I would have responded earlier cause hardly anyone will see this response way down here towards the bottom of the page. Steroids or not, Sherk is not top 20! First off, for those of you that keep spouting out he is a top 10 lightweight…thats great, we are talking about top 10 pound for pound, not top 10 lightweights. I also love how people say he has only lost 2 fights…one to GSP and one to Hughes… Well guess what, those were his two biggest fights, and he lost. He doesn’t have one super win. If we are talking pound for pound the best, then you need to beat the super elite. Sherk hasn’t. Sure, Franca and Florian are solid competition, but neither one is an elite top of the division type of guy. Even worse, he didn’t finish either guy. So, to me he doesn’t have one very impressive win. This is top 10 pound for pound people. I’m not a Fedor nut-hugger, but he has beat the best of the best. Maybe it was years ago, but he has done it and hasn’t lost since, Sherk hasn’t so please drop that one.

    Oh, one more thing… People say how Sherk has a great record… Who cares! If you fight cream puffs then you get a good record, how is that impressive? Look at Randy Couture’s record…it sucks! You know why? Cause half of his fights have been title fights! Every time he is in the ring he is fighting the best of the best. So no more spouting off about Sherk’s great record when he has won 25 out of his 31 wins outside of the octagon. He earned one title fight and lost it (Hughes). Then he was given an interim title fight (Florian) when he was on a one fight win streak.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    I’m sure Tim hates you to.

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  • jason hughes says:

    #18 i know your aware that some fighters stack up for a period of time then lay off at a certian period so the y will still have the benefits of the strength and can pass the test and to whoever i really cant look at fedors body and automatically scream peds. hes a little soft not the most cut, i think he just happens to have super human strength.

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  • Alan Kirk says:

    #36
    Just because the guy looks a little awkward when he fights doesn’t mean that he’s any less capable. Tim Sylvia is a 2 time UFC HW champ with a 24-4 record – show a little respect.

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  • Sven says:

    #37

    No one, absolutely no one was talking about putting Sherk on the p4p list. We talked about the LW-list. If you think people shouldn’t talk about two things at a time, I mean, that is your own little problem.

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