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LOS ANGELES – Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Sean Sherk remains in limbo.
The Minnesota native was scheduled to formally appeal his July suspension for banned substances, but had the hearing postponed due to an apparent bureaucratic mix-up on the part of the California State Athletic Commission.
The appeal was postponed less than 30 minutes into the hearing at the Junipero Serra State Building, as members of the CSAC discovered it did not have copies of the 17-page brief that Sherk's attorney, Howard Jacobs, had submitted in the fighter's defense.
The nine commissioners agreed that they couldn't proceed without the brief. They rescheduled the hearing for Nov. 13.
Sherk was suspended for one year in mid-July, when he tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolone after his successful title defense against Hermes Franca on July 7 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento. Sherk was also fined $2,500.
Jacobs has represented several other high-profile athletes involved in doping scandals, such as track star Marion Jones and cyclists Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
At a hearing on Aug. 6, the athletic commission formally granted Sherk a stay in order to prepare his defense.
Sherk said the suspension has cost him roughly $500,000 in prize money, sponsorship and advertising, in addition to $20,000 in legal fees.
“The way the commission conducted itself was very unprofessional,” said Sherk, who has adamantly maintained his innocence since the suspension was announced. “I’ve waited a long time for this hearing. I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to get this behind me.”
Sherk said he was confident the ruling would be overturned until he learned details of the morning’s proceedings. Before Sherk’s hearing was conducted, there was a two-hour presentation from three anti-doping experts, including Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Sherk said he thought he was the target of the presentation. “It was warfare,” Sherk said, referring to the seminar. “I don’t want to give them any more fuel, because I’m sure they’re looking for something.”
Yahoo! Sports MMA/Boxing editor Dave Doyle contributed to this report.
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