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The Case For Cutting Sean Sherk Just A Little Slack


(Dirty cheater or wrongly accused?)

Sean Sherk doesn’t get much love in the MMA blogosphere. Some of that is because he tested positive for steroids. Some of it is because his fighting style is not always the most exciting to watch. Some of it is because he clearly wears hair gel into the Octagon.

These are all fair points, to varying degrees.

But as fun as it may be to bash Sean Sherk, and as much as he may or may not have it coming, it’s important to put it in perspective. It may just be possible that Sherk deserves a break. Maybe. It’s at least worth considering, one point at a time.

First, there’s the anabolic elephant in the room: his positive steroid test. Sherk swears he’s innocent on this charge. He’s taken polygraphs. He’s filed for appeals. He’s spent money, time, and effort trying to clear his name. But it’s not going to work. Even if he is innocent, even if the positive test was a result of a screw-up at the lab, it doesn’t matter.

That’s because we’re all skeptics when it comes to pro athletes and steroid use. The mere accusation is almost enough to ruin a man’s reputation. A positive test is practically as damning as a picture of him with a needle in his arm. Pro sports and steroids go together like politicians and hookers. By the time there’s an accusation, it already feels like a fact. It fits with a narrative we’ve come to expect.

Let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, that you’re Sean Sherk and you know for certain that you’ve never used an illegal substance in your life. Let’s say that the lab somehow tainted your sample, and it came up positive. Imagining that to be true, what could you possibly do to clear your name now? You know you’re innocent, but here you are walking around with a chiseled physique, a positive steroid test, with a nickname like “The Muscle Shark” and trying to tell people that it’s not what it looks like.

If he hadn’t already done it, I’d suggest taking a polygraph. Other than that, it’s really difficult to prove you didn’t do steroids. It’s even more difficult when your opponent also tests positive and admits it right afterwards. That makes it seem to an outside observer like steroids are rampant in the UFC and you’re just one more example.

My point is, there is reasonable doubt here. Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn’t. I don’t know a lot about steroid testing, though more than one pro fighter has told me that a true positive test would likely contain much greater concentrations of Nandrolone. We did not discuss how they knew these things.

As for the flack that Sherk gets because of his fighting style, which I’ll admit is less than exhilarating, that’s a fair criticism, but only to some extent. If a fighter is boring because he’s inactive, then he’s not much of a fighter. But Sherk is nothing if not active. He takes people down, he grinds away at them, he keeps them from executing their game plan. It might not be pretty, and you don’t have to like it, but when he does it with such effectiveness you should at least respect it.

As for the hair gel, well, there’s no excuse for that. It’s still better than shaving some vague, ill-advised design into your head, though.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion about Sherk, but we should be honest with ourselves about why we hold those opinions. And when it comes to questions about steroids, which is essentially a question about cheating, which is in turn a question about a man’s character, we should be careful about rushing to judgment. Everybody deserves some slack now and then.

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gcw- May 20, 2008 at 4:11 am
i think sherk needs to do his homework on the supplements he takes, end of story. i don't buy his defence at all.
http://mmafight.ca
All Evidence Points to Sherk's Guilt.- May 19, 2008 at 4:39 am
"more than one pro fighter has told me that a true positive test would likely contain much greater concentrations of Nandrolone."

So which medical school did these "pro fighters" go to?

A negative test would contain less than 1% of the amount of Nandrolone Sherk had in his urine.

There's not even any doubt about what the source of the Nandrolone was. The CSAC has stated that it was definitively injected Deca-durabolin.

Sherk has destroyed his credibility with fightfans.
Warcraft- May 9, 2008 at 5:49 pm
Damn Steroid Rage found the internet and is breaking it down for reelz.

I Hate all these "little bitches" to man I wish they wouldn't write messages I mean wtf is the internet for an exchange of ideas what trash.....

Steroids are bad hmmK.
Trolls have big cocks I mean the biggest cocks around so big its stuck in there mouths most the time.
Haters = Small DICKS- May 6, 2008 at 5:29 pm
Talk talk talk talk littles bitches. Nothing but internet tough guys, with really really really small DICKS!!!!! Wishing death upon someone SICK little fuckers!!!! Go fuck your moms bcuz I know you guys ain't getting no ass from chics!!!!!

I would be ANGRY to if my DICK was small, but I don't have that problem!!!!!!!!!
fuck sean sherk- May 6, 2008 at 8:09 am
I am surprised he hasnt fallen over from heart disease or cancer yet and i hope he does soon
Teachbug- May 6, 2008 at 12:23 am
Sherk has no neck. :)
Sherk has no balls. :)
Sherk has bad knees...all signs of being a roid-headed fucker.
Anonymous- May 5, 2008 at 8:09 pm
First off, Sherk BARELY failed his drug test. It was a fraction too high. Nandro has a detection rate of up to 18 months. Even if he did take it to get the results that he got he would have had to been off of it for 16 or 17 months....which isn't really steroid cycling. And for the record, IT OCCURS NATURALLY IN THE HUMAN BODY! A large majority of over-the-counter products contain illegal substances but fail to put them on the label since most supplements are not FDA regulated this fraction of a failed could have resulted from a small percentage of it in a supplement. People should look at facts before they accuse a "user" because if any of you are taking a supplement i bet you've got some 'roids in there as well.
BIG CHRIS- May 5, 2008 at 6:20 pm
Well I hope Brock Lesner's juiced up and angry little mini-me wins his next fight....cause that will tell it all....
tim sylvia's pussy- May 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm
steroids arent the only kind of juice sherk's training partners shoot into his ass...
HEHE- May 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm
lol @ Jeff and your lacking knowledge about steroids and your retardet explaination. steroids are great to cut fat and maintain musclemass...wouldnt a fighter wanna be as close to the weightlimit with as less fat and as much muscles as possible?? more muscles is more strength and speed. poor sherk should have been as smart as the rest of the guys in proffesional mma and used HGH or IGF-1. nandrolone has a detectiontime of 18 months, compared to a short estered testosterone that is 3 weeks..why he would do such a thing is just wierd
Jeff- May 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm
Look at the monkey... look... look at the monkey.

*splat*
eric- May 5, 2008 at 12:04 pm
CagePotato...you have let me down. No link from the "ill-advised design into your head" to a Kendall Grove picture. Even if that didn't work, there's always some disposable pictures of Heath Herring, Jonathan Goulet and Jens Pulver.
Boner- May 5, 2008 at 11:35 am
Couple of things: 1. The polygraph can be beaten. It's fairly easy to be able to train yourself not to have a physiological reaction to lying (not that easy, but doable.) Plus, even if you're not trained (or didn't begin training immediately after you tested positive for steroids) the polygraph only has an accuracy rate of 66.7 percent anyway. As far as the low dose is concerned, Sherk could've been taking roids, cycled off well before the ufc event in hopes that it'd be outta his system by then, and made a miscalculation. And finally (i know i abandoned the bullets {as in the 1. 2. 3....}) I've heard that if an instrument used for steroid testing is properly cleaned you can get a positive test in subsequent tests. That's all i have. I still think he's guilty for the record, I was just playing devil's advocate.
C-Bus Allstar- May 5, 2008 at 11:26 am
Jeff: Steroid use in MMA is more for recovery time than muscle building. MMA athletes use steroids to heal their muscles faster, thus allowing them to get stronger and more prepared in less time's notice.
UFC 88: ROID RAGE- May 5, 2008 at 11:16 am
put sherk, ken shamrock, lesnar, marquardt, bonner, and some other fighters on it
this is to gatorade- May 5, 2008 at 11:08 am
haha 2 of your favorite fighters got caught for steroids: fem sylvia and sean nandro-shark sherk who are in the wrong sport. this is MIXED martial arts, not wrestling/kickboxing/jiu jitsu (regarding arona) GataROID should find another sport to watch and another site to post gay gataroid comments on
grant- May 5, 2008 at 8:20 am
who cares if he DID juice? penn's still gonna rock him, and technique should be the deciding factor anyway, not who's biceps are the biggest ay?
clutch- May 5, 2008 at 6:54 am
rofl @ dota, nice name and rofl at hair gel, nothing wrong with that in a fight ! gotta look good for the ring ladies ;D
Doogs- May 5, 2008 at 6:47 am
fuckin' well put.
gatorade- May 5, 2008 at 6:34 am
fuck all you motherfuckers, sherk is the man. You can make a compelling argument for either side. I'm not going to do that. Sherk is my favorite fighter, and BJ is the most talented fighter in the history of the sport. I'd like him a lot more if he wasn't such a lazy stoner. I've always gravitated to athletes that beat other, superior athletes by sheer hard work and gameplan execution. Basketball: the modern day Spurs and Pistons, the Bad Boy Pistons of the 80s. Tennis: Jim Courier. Football: 70s Bears, Super Bowl Ravens squad. MMA: Tim Sylvia, Ricardo Arona and Sherk. I'll take blue collar work ethic over flashy athletics but poor dedication any day.
jeff- May 5, 2008 at 6:32 am
Taking steroids in a sport where u have to cut weight doesn't make sense. There is no weight limit in football and baseball, I can see the players having a motive to take steroids.

But what would be the point of an MMA fighter taking steroids? Getting big and buff really fast so you can drop more weight come time to fight? Come on now.

This... is Chewbacca.
Indestruktible- May 5, 2008 at 5:22 am
Sherk actually passed his polygraph test. He passed other tests as well (just not the big one). In my opinion, he is innocent.
Earl- May 5, 2008 at 5:13 am
I just wish he'd do the "shitbreak run" again after the fight.
Dota- May 5, 2008 at 5:01 am
A focused Penn is an unbeatable Penn, doesn't matter how good sherk is. We just need to see the BJ that we saw in the Pulver fight, if he doesn't it's all Sherk.
Anthony- May 5, 2008 at 4:50 am
Seriously. Penn is gonna get gassed at Sherk is gonna beat him. One wya or another. I love how all you guys talk shit about Lesnar, Sherk and whoever else is popular to hate this month. When I'd like to see you guys train 1/16th as hard as they do and still fight in front of 1,000's of people. Brock is gonna be a big thing in the UFC if he stays around and Sherk is already there. Now I'll go back to my real life and leave you Sherk haters to continue.
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