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With Lessons Learned, Hermes Franca Wants Back in UFC
With Lessons Learned, Hermes Franca Wants Back in UFC - MMAjunkie.com
by John Morgan [john-morgan] on Mar 12, 2008 at 10:54 pm in - News -
After two difficult losses in California -- one to eventually stripped ex-UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk, and a second, perhaps more stinging, loss to the California State Athletic Commission -- Hermes Franca (18-6) has learned his lessons, and he is ready to return to action in the UFC.
Franca addressed his 12-month suspension for anabolic steroid use, as well as his desire to return to the octagon, while a guest on a special Wednesday episode of The Lights Out Show on the TAGG Radio Network (www.taggradio.com), a partner site of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"This has never happened to me before, you know, with my team or whatever," Franca said. "It was really bad news."
The CSAC's decision to suspend Franca for a year after he admitted his steroid use -- only to reduce Sean Sherk's suspension to six months based on his high-powered attorney's claim of supplement contamination -- left the commission dealing with considerable controversy. The irony of the situation is not lost on Franca.
"I think we make mistakes when we love somebody or we love something," Franca said. "We make mistakes. So I told what I did, and I really don't care about Sean Sherk. Of course, it makes me feel like, 'Oh man, I should be lying.'"
After the CSAC's decision, Franca considered continuing his fighting career abroad, but he reconsidered after learning that the decision would restrict him from future opportunities in the U.S.
"You get addicted to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight," Franca said. "So when I heard the bad news, I said, 'Oh my goodness, what am I going to do? I can't survive without fighting.' I was kind of lost. I think I lost myself. But I think, 'I'm going to fight in Japan or whatever. Canada, or another country or whatever. I called Mr. Armando Garcia, the athletic commission president. He was really nice, and he said 'Hermes, of course you can fight in another country, but you're going to have a hard time (coming) back. It's kind of like you are stepping over our law.'"
Now, as Franca closes in on the end of his suspension, the one lingering question is why he took steroids in the first place.
"I don't like to say somebody told me," Franca said. "Nobody put a gun to my head. But when I got hurt, I was lost. You're going to fight for the belt, so it's a dream come true. I called (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva, and Joe explains to me and said, 'Hermes, look you've got to fight. You have to fight. Sean Sherk, he got hurt; he's been out for eight months after Kenny Florian. So he has to fight, and you have to fight. I cannot put you guys in next month or two months, so you have to fight. Hermes, if you don't fight, I have to find a different opponent.'
"So I said, 'Oh man I have to do something.' So that's what I did."
While understandable to some, many fans aren't buying the excuse. They specifically point to Karo Parisyan, who was promised a title shot more than two years. After Parisyan suffered an injury, Joe Riggs got the title fight with Matt Hughes instead -- and Parisyan is still waiting for his chance. Yet, he (and dozens of other fighters who lost key fight because of injury) never resorted to steroids.
In reflection, Franca does wish he would have chosen a different path.
"Such a stupid thing," Franca said. "Like now I can see Karo Parisyan. When he got hurt, he took some months off, and now he's back. You can see Roger Huerta. He fought a lot, and he said, 'I don't care. I need a year off.' So, now I learned my lesson."
Franca will be allowed to return to action in July, and though released from his UFC contract, he feels the octagon would be the best venue for his next fight.
"The UFC has no reason to kick me off," Franca said. "I am a star, they love me there, and everyone wants to see me come back in the UFC and fight again. I can say (I have) no bad feelings. You can see a lot of guys that were under suspension, and they came back... I think we learn a lot with our mistakes. It's a big lesson. I learned. I'm human."
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