Sean Sherk isn’t what most would call a fan favorite. Sure, he has his hardcore contingent of supporters, but even when he reigned as the UFC lightweight champ he faced criticism from detractors who found his style of fighting less than enthralling to watch. That criticism reached a fever pitch after a positive steroid test following his title defense against Hermes Franca last summer, which resulted in Sherk being stripped of the title.
“The Muscle Shark” has repeatedly professed his innocence on the steroid charge, filing an appeal with the CSAC and taking repeated polygraph tests to try and clear his name. Now the former UFC lightweight champion talks with Cage Potato about the steroid accusations, his attempts to prove his innocence, and the war of words with current title-holder B.J. Penn, as they prepare to meet in the Octagon at UFC 84.
CagePotato.com: So how’s training going? As we near the fight, are you backing off the really hard training?
Sean Sherk: No, I’m still training hard up until two days before the fight. Still doing everything I normally do, all the cardio, all the hard workouts. That’s the way I’ve always done it for over thirty fights. That’s the way we did it in wrestling and so that’s the way I’m used to doing it.
I imagine by this point you’re pretty sick of being asked about the positive steroid test.
No, I’m used to it. I kind of expect it now.
In that case, let’s get right into it. You’ve maintained your innocence throughout this whole thing. If you didn’t take steroids, what do you think caused the positive test?
I can’t say exactly why it came up positive, but I know that there were definitely some problems with the testing procedures at Quest Laboratories. The way they did their testing, there was some carryover in the machine from previous tests before they tested my sample.
That seems like a pretty big problem to me right there. If there’s carryover in the machine, should you use that machine to do that test? I wouldn’t think so. Their chain of custody was completely shot. They had no chain of custody. Those were the two main issues.
I tested all the supplements I was taking and I did find contamination in one of them, a testosterone booster. I don’t know if that caused it or not, but I was surprised to find contamination in a supplement like that.
Has that made you paranoid about taking supplements in general?
Oh yeah, for sure. I cut the amount of supplements I was taking in half. I was taking about 25 different supplements and I cut that in half. I still feel the same, so I didn’t really need to be taking all those supplements to begin with. I’m just hoping that by cutting my supplements I can decrease the risk of this happening again.
I didn’t know you could go into a store like a GNC and buy something that would have illegal stuff in it, but I guess you can. I was stunned. I didn’t know that. I’ve also started doing my own pre-testing, which I’ll do before every fight now just to be sure.
Even as you maintain your innocence, the court of public opinion in MMA seems to be largely against you. What do you think you could do to clear your name that would satisfy your detractors?