NEWARK, N.J. — B.J. Penn has his eye on Sean Sherk’s UFC lightweight title, so he may not be the most neutral observer when it comes to Sherk’s positive drug test at UFC 73. But the Hawaii mixed martial arts fighter known as The Prodigy doesn’t mince words when it comes to Sherk.
The UFC has matched Penn against Joe Stevenson in January at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England, for the interim 155-pound championship, while Sherk appeals his test for steroids.
"Sean Sherk can say it’s a fake interim title, but his belt is no more real than Marion Jones’ gold medals," Penn told a gathering of the UFC Fight Club before Friday’s weigh-in for UFC 78 at the Prudential Center.
Jones is the U.S. sprinter and multiple Olympic medallist who recently admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Should Sherk win his appeal, he will be matched against the Penn-Stevenson winner. If he loses, the winner of the UFC 80 bout will get full ownership of the lightweight title.
In a later interview, Penn said it’s hard to argue with a positive drug test.
"Looking at him, he doesn’t look like he’s ever done steroids in his life," Penn, his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek, said of the musclebound Sherk.
Penn also ripped Sherk for failing to finish fights, noting he needed five rounds to beat Hermes Franca at UFC 73.
"He made us sit through that whole thing with Hermes Franca," said Penn.
Houston (The Assassin) Alexander has needed just one minute 49 seconds in total to dispose of his first two UFC opponents.
But Demian (pronounced Damian) Decorah extended Alexander to five three-minute rounds in January 2005 before losing a decision.
"That’s actually a fight I should have won," Decorah said. "It was a hometown decision for Houston. He didn’t even get cheered after the decision. It was that bad."
Alexander (8-1) remembers the fight differently.
"He was twice my size and he hugged me the whole time," Alexander said.
Decorah (18-24) is a heavyweight who says he fought at 255 pounds that night. Alexander is a light-heavyweight who weighs around 205.
"I don’t think he hits that hard," Decorah said from Poynette, Wisc., where he operates a mixed martial arts academy. "I just think a lot of the guys in the light-heavyweight division in the UFC don’t have chins."
Decorah, known as The Coroner, reckons he could put on a show in the UFC.
"I don’t look the best. Maybe I’m not the most spectacular fighter, but I’ll put on a beating or take one."
Decorah may have lost to Alexander, but says he had the better post-fight night.
"Houston laid upstairs in the dressing room for an hour trying to recover, while I was two-fisting beer five minutes after the fight," he said.
"I like Houston, don’t get me wrong," he added. "It’s just a fight I’m really bitter about having lost."