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Franca: The UFC Forced Me to Take Steroids

Well, basically.

On a recent airing of the Tagg Radio Network’s Lights Out Show, Hermes Franca discussed that little steroid misunderstanding he had last summer at UFC 73, where both him and his opponent Sean Sherk were busted for ‘roids after their lightweight title fight; Franca has subsequently been banned from competing in California until July 5th. Unlike Sean Sherk, who absolutely did not take steroids, Franca was apologetic about the situation and chalked it up to a “mistake,” but he did try to pin some of the blame on the pressure-cooker of being a UFC fighter:

When I was hurt, I got lost. I wanted to fight for the belt and make my dreams come true. But [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva told me that I had to fight Sean Sherk at UFC 73 and there was no other way around it without him finding another opponent. A lot of guys in the division wouldn’t be able to fight, like Kenny Florian. I brought up Roger Huerta but Joe said that he wasn’t ready. So I took the steroids.

If you’re unfamiliar, Franca’s pre-fight injury situation is described here. To him, it was a choice between taking steroids and not being able to support his family; like many mixed martial artists, he lives fight-to-fight, financially speaking. And now with a one-year suspension preventing further income, Franca was recently forced to resign from the UFC so he could make money fighting overseas. To make things worse, the CSAC warned Franca that he would have to serve his one-year suspension if he ever planned on fighting in the U.S. again, so he’s basically like a wandering ghost at this point, fighting to survive and unable to return home. The irony is, if he went through the Sherk fight without chemical enhancement, even if he took an ugly loss, he would have probably picked up a win by disqualification — or at least a no-contest and another title shot — because Sherk also pissed dirty.

Anyway, there’s your daily insight into the ugly side of MMA. We’re going to go cry in our car for a while.

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Ronny M- March 16, 2008 at 6:02 am
No one pointed a gun in Mr. Franca's head, and told him to take steriods. He did it on his own free will. He has no one but himself to blame for the mess he's in now!
ryan- March 14, 2008 at 8:39 am
robnashville, Franca took Steroids then asked for a release so that he could fight elsewhere. CSAC told him if he did that he would not fight in California again. He took his life in his hans when he decided to fight outside of the United States
Ryan
Anonymous- March 13, 2008 at 6:43 pm
This is why every major professional sport in the US has a players union. I love the UFC, and I think that Dana White has done a lot for the sport, but the fighters are getting screwed around at all levels. I don't know how a fighters union would get started, but I sure hope they're working on it.
tony@rbdmma- March 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm
ilostmydog* That is interesting, I don't think the terms of his suspension are the issue. The issue is that Franca was pressured into taking steroids to earn a living to support his family. Zuffa created the situation that caused his suspension. He was pressured by corrupt business that is more worried about the bottom line than the well-being of the people who do the real work to make the sport successful.
ilostmydog- March 13, 2008 at 7:09 am
It's not Zuffa's responsibility to make sure Franca knows what the terms of his suspension are. He asked for a release and got one. BTW, anyone with a fully functioning frontal lobe could have told him his suspension applied elsewhere too. That's not Zuffa's fault. I fail to see how Franca has been fucked over by anyone but himself in this situation.
robnashville- March 13, 2008 at 2:33 am
Franca had a choice.....piss off CSAC and piss dirty, who can affect his career for the next year......... Or piss off the UFC and be on their shitlist for the rest of his fighting career? Franca had already been pink-slipped by the UFC once, having to roam the smaller circuits racking up wins for bum paychecks.... it wasn't a hard decision to make. Dana, Silva, and Zuffa are just fucking this guy over seven ways to sunday.....they gave him his release knowing full well that he couldn't fight anywhere else with out basically being banned from fighting in the states.....that is some Don King type shit of fucking over your own fighters.... the guy did what Zuffa wanted, didn't fuck up the ppv main event and is getting shit on, and thrown aside for it....unbelievable
Kim Couture is a cunt- March 13, 2008 at 2:06 am
Sean Sherk is a fuckin joke.
godzillad- March 13, 2008 at 1:02 am
I had Huerta over Franca at UFC 61, and that's what would have happened.
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