|Nickname||The Muscle Shark|
|Association||Minnesota Martial Arts Academy|
|Weight Class||Welterweight (170 lbs.) / Lightweight (155 lbs.)|
|Height||5' 6" (168 cm)|
|Reach||67.0 in (170 cm)|
|Birth Date||August 5, 1973|
|Fighting Out Of||Oak Grove, Minnesota|
|Sean Sherk Pictures||Official Website|
Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk is an American mixed martial artist currently fighting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Sherk has fought in both the UFC and PRIDE FC, and is a one-time UFC Lightweight Champion.
Sherk began fighting MMA in June 1999, where he originally fought at the welterweight weight-class. During his time as a welterweight, Sherk suffered two loses; one to Matt Hughes and one to Georges St. Pierre. In 2006, Sherk decided to drop down to the lightweight class of 155 lb. In his first fight as a lightweight, Sherk defeated Kenny Florian to become the first UFC Lightweight Champion in over four years. After his first successful defense with the title, Sherk was stripped of the title after testing positive for steroids, an accusation he unsuccesfully fought against in a series of controversial hearings. Upon his return in May 2008, Sherk failed to win back the title from the champion, B.J. Penn.
|Record||34 - 4 - 1 (Win – Loss – Draw)|
|Win||Evan Dunham||Decision (Split)||UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop||9/25/2010||3||5:00||Won Fight of the Night Honors|
|Loss||Frank Edgar||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida||5/23/2009||3||5:00|
|Win||Tyson Griffin||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote||10/25/2008||3||5:00||Won Fight of the Night Honors|
|Loss||B.J. Penn||TKO (Knee and Punches)||UFC 84: Ill Will||5/24/2008||3||5:00||For UFC Lightweight Championship|
|Win||Hermes Franca||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 73: Stacked||7/07/2007||5||5:00||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship; tested positive for banned substance after fight; later stripped of the title|
|Win||Kenny Florian||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 64: Unstoppable||10/14/2006||5||5:00||Won UFC Lightweight Championship|
|Win||Nick Diaz||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 59: Reality Check||4/15/2006||3||5:00|
|Loss||Georges St. Pierre||TKO (Punches and Elbows)||UFC 56: Full Force||11/19/2005||2||2:53|
|Win||Joel Blanton||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||BP: Pride and Glory||9/17/2005||1||N/A|
|Win||Lee King||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||EC 60: Extreme Challenge 60||11/12/2004||1||2:20|
|Win||Brodie Farber||Submission (Choke)||SF 6: Battleground in Reno||9/23/2004||1||0:55|
|Win||Darin Brudigan||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||CFX 2: Cage Fighting Xtreme 2||9/04/2004||N/A||N/A|
|Win||Geral Strebendt||TKO||EC 58: Extreme Challenge 58||6/11/2004||1||3:52|
|Win||Eric Heinz||Submission (Neck Crank)||PFA: Pride and Fury||6/03/2004||1||0:58|
|Win||Jake Short||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||ICC: Trials 2||4/30/2004||1||N/A|
|Win||Kaleo Padilla||Submission (Neck Crank)||YTYT: You Think Your Tough||4/17/2004||2||1:17|
|Win||Ryuki Ueyama||Decision (Unanimous)||PRIDE Bushido 2||2/15/2004||2||5:00|
|Win||Charles Taylor||Submission (Keylock)||EP: XXXtreme Impact||12/28/2003||2||0:58|
|Win||Mark Long||Submission (Strikes)||EC: Extreme Combat||12/12/2003||1||0:32|
|Win||John Alexander||TKO||EC: Best of the Best 2 - Night Event||8/02/2003||1||N/A|
|Loss||Matt Hughes||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 42: Sudden Impact||4/25/2003||5||5:00||For UFC Welterweight Championship|
|Win||John Alexander||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||EC 2: Extreme Combat 2||12/07/2002||1||2:28|
|Win||Benji Radach||TKO (Cut)||UFC 39: The Warriors Return||9/27/2002||1||4:16|
|Win||Jutaro Nakao||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 36: Worlds Collide||3/22/2002||3||5:00|
|Win||Claudionor Fontinelle||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||UCC 6: Redemption||10/19/2001||2||1:04|
|Draw||Kiuma Konioku||Draw||Pancrase: 2001 Neo-Blood Tournament Second Round||7/29/2001||3||5:00|
|Win||Curtis Brigham||TKO (Towel)||UW: St. Paul||7/15/2001||3||1:15|
|Win||Jason Purcell||TKO||UW: Ultimate Fight Minnesota||6/02/2001||1||1:42|
|Win||Marty Armendarez||TKO (Punches)||KOTC 8: Bombs Away||4/29/2001||3||2:07|
|Win||Manny Gamburyan||Decision (Unanimous)||RSF 3: Reality Submission Fighting 3||3/30/2001||1||18:00|
|Win||Tiki Ghosn||Submission (Shoulder Dislocated)||UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk||2/23/2001||2||4:47|
|Win||Karo Parisyan||TKO (Towel)||RSF 2: Reality Submission Fighting 2||1/05/2001||1||16:20|
|Win||Ken Parham||Decision||SFC: Submission Fighting Championships||11/03/2000||2||N/A|
|Win||Karo Parisyan||Decision||RSF 1: Reality Submission Fighting 1||10/06/2000||1||18:00|
|Win||Steve Gomm||Decision||EC 28: Extreme Challenge 28||10/09/1999||1||10:00|
|Win||Scott Bills||Decision||EC 28: Extreme Challenge 28||10/09/1999||1||10:00|
|Win||Kurtis Jensen||TKO||Extreme Challenge: Trials||10/04/1999||1||0:37|
|Win||Johnnie Holland||Submission (Keylock)||UW: Ultimate Wrestling||8/13/1999||2||2:10|
|Win||Roscoe Ostyn||Decision||Dangerzone: Mahnomen||6/19/1999||N/A||N/A|
Martial Arts Background
Sean Sherk was born on August 5, 1973 in St. Francis, Minnesota. Sherk began wrestling at age seven. He continued to wrestle for eleven years, where he wrestled over 400 matches. After finding Greg Nelson's Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in 1994, Sherk began to practice Boxing, Shoot Wrestling, and Muay Thai. In 1999, Sherk defeated Roscoe Ostyn by decision in his first MMA fight.
Mixed Martial Arts Career
Sherk began his mixed martial arts career in 1999, where he went on an eight-fight win streak before signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2001. Sherk fought only one fight before leaving the UFC. He eventually came back and fought Matt Hughes for the UFC Welterweight Championship. He lost the match and went on to sign with PRIDE Fighting Championships (Pride). In 2005, Sherk resigned with the UFC and lost to Georges St. Pierre.
Sherk made his UFC debut at UFC 30, where he defeated Tiki Ghosn. After going 5-0-1 outside the UFC, he was brought back to fight Jutaro Nakao at UFC 36, a fight which Sherk won via unanimous decision. On September 27, 2002, at UFC 39, Sherk defeated Benji Radach when the fight was stopped due to a cut Radach had received.
Sherk was then chosen to fight Matt Hughes for the UFC Welterweight Championship on April 25, 2003. Sherk lost the fight via unanimous decision after going five five-minute rounds. Sherk won two of the overall five rounds, becoming the first fighter to ever fight a full five round fight with then-champion Matt Hughes.
Following his loss to Hughes, Sherk fought three more times in 2003, winning all three bouts. In 2004, he signed with Pride and made his debut with the Japanese-based organization at Pride Bushido 2. Sherk defeated Ryuki Ueyama via unanimous decision, in what was his only outing in the company.
According to Sean Sherk's website, the Japanese fans are the ones responsible for giving him the nickname "The Muscle Shark." While he was popular in Japan, Sherk found it difficult to travel and support his family and found he could make a better living fighting as a main event on local shows. He also cited his lack of health insurance for making this decision.
Return to the UFC and steroid allegations (2005–present)
Sherk was invited back to the UFC in 2005 for a fight with Georges St. Pierre. Sherk lost by TKO, but was given another fight in the UFC at UFC 59, where he defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision. During the post-fight interview, Sherk stated his intention to drop down in weight to the lightweight division. In October 2006, at UFC 64, Sherk defeated Kenny Florian via unanimous decision to win the UFC Lightweight Championship. With this win, Sherk became the first UFC Lightweight Champion since Jens Pulver vacated the title in 2002. Sherk fought the bout with a torn rotator cuff and was forced to rehabilitate afterwards.
In July 2007, Sherk successfully defended his title against Hermes Franca at UFC 73. After the fight, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) announced that Sherk had tested positive for Nandrolone, a banned steroid, in a urine test the day prior to the fight. After testing positive for twelve ng/ml of Nandrolone, Sherk was fined $2,500 and suspended from competing in California for one year. Sherk's suspension was reduced to six months after appealing his allegations on December 4, 2007, making him eligible to fight in early January 2008. Sherk claimed errors were made in lab testing procedures. He claimed that failure of the lab to properly test the vials used in the earlier, positive tests for any remaining steroid content may have resulted in his sample becoming contaminated. However, Quest Diagnostics and the CSAC denied any errors were made. During this time, Sean Sherk attempted to challenge the CSAC by employing his own lawyer and submitting polygraph lie detector tests. While Sherk passed these tests, the CSAC made an unusual decision to cut his suspension in half rather than uplift it. This was seen as strange by many in the community, including the reporters at Sherdog.com, the largest mixed martial arts reporting website. In an article, they detailed how the CSAC's decision did not echo that of past cases where bans had been lifted after providing minimal evidence. The decision was seen as even more unusual after test results proved that Xyience supplements in Sherk's possession were tainted with the same steroid agent that was found in his bloodstream.
Following the CSAC's decision to uphold the results of the positive steroid test, the UFC officially stripped Sherk of his Lightweight Championship. At UFC 80, B.J. Penn defeated Joe Stevenson to win the vacant title. After the fight, UFC president Dana White announced that Penn's first title defense would be against Sherk, who was reinstated by UFC in April 2008. Sherk and Penn fought at UFC 84 on May 24, 2008. Penn defeated Sherk by TKO after Sherk was unable to continue at the end of the third round.
Next on Sherk's agenda was up-and-coming Lightweight Frankie Edgar, who was coming off a win over Hermes Franca, at UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida on May 23, 2009. The fight went the distance, but Edgar won the judges unanimous decision, defeating Sherk, and handing him his first loss from a fighter who has yet to hold a belt in the UFC.
Sherk was next scheduled to fight Gleison Tibau at UFC 104, but was forced to withdraw from the card when he suffered a shoulder injury. He was then expected to face Rafaello Oliveira on January 2, 2010 on the undercard of UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva, but when Tyson Griffin dropped out of his main-card bout with Jim Miller, Sherk jumped at the opportunity and took Griffin's spot. Then, to add to the curse of UFC 108, Sherk suffered a deep cut in training and was forced off the card, where he was replaced by Duane Ludwig.
Sean was expected to return to action at UFC Fight Night 21, the first UFC event on Versus, where he would face off against crowd favorite, Clay Guida. Yet for undisclosed reasons, Sherk was taken off the card, and replaced by Shannon Gugerty.
Sherk finally returned to action at UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop, where he faced off against undefeated Lightweight contender Evan Dunham. Sherk used a wrestling-heavy attack, putting Dunham on his back and opening up a huge gash beside his opponent's right eye. Sherk got his neck caught in several submission attempts, but as he always has, the former champ refused to tap and pulled away to safety. Dunham opened up and found his range in the later rounds, but it was Sherk who walked away the winner by Decision (Split), handing Dunham his first career loss. The fight went on to win the Fight of the Night Honors.
- Sherk and his wife have two sons, Kyler and Tegan.
- Was Captain of his high school football and color guard team.
- He currently coaches a team of fighters with coaches Greg Nelson, Nat McIntyre, Andy Grahn, Ryan Murray, Tom Schmitz Ishmael Bentley and Rick Noyes at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. Other fighters include Brock Lesnar, Brock Larson, Nick Thompson, Logan Clark, Jacob Volkmann, Kaitlin Young, Nat McIntyre and Saul Mitchell.
Ranks and Titles
- Former UFC Lightweight Champion