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Sex, drugs, and retirement

MMA organizations feel the heat in 2012

Inside the Octagon
Autumn McDowell

Sports Editor

MMA fans around the world were shocked many times in 2011, but it appears 2012 is proving to be more outrageous than ever before.

UFC fans will remember lightweight Hermes Franca for his memorable bouts against Tyson Griffin and Frankie Edgar. Fans will also remember him as the guy who tested positive for steroids after his title loss to then-champion Sean Sherk. As if a steroid scandal wasn’t enough, Franca will have to add sex scandal to his repertoire.

On Jan. 6, the former UFC fighter was sentenced to 42 months in prison for sexually abusing an underage girl at the jui-jitsu academy where Franca had previously taught. After completing the 42-month jail sentence, Franca will then be under four and a half years of post-prison supervision and will have to register as a sex offender. At 37 years old, it is unlikely that Franca will return to the cage after completing his sentences.

Strikeforce has also been producing more drama than it is well-rounded fighters. Women’s featherweight champion Cris Santos, more commonly known as “Cyborg,” failed a drug test after her successful title defence Dec. 17 against Hiroko Yamanaka. Cyborg said that after having difficulty losing weight, she turned to a dietary supplement. Although this excuse has been used by fighters in the past – Sean Sherk among them – it has little traction among fans this time.

In her apology, Cyborg went on to say she “trains harder than any fighter in MMA and does not need drugs to win.” Dana White seems to disagree. The UFC head has stated that Cyborg will immediately be stripped of her belt. This is good news for me; I never liked Cyborg anyway. White is also considering getting rid of the whole featherweight division altogether.

Another fighter that is almost certainly taking drugs announced his retirement. Brock Lesnar, former WWE professional wrestler, retired after his first-round knockout loss to Alistair Overeem Dec. 30. Apparently, Lesnar had promised his family that if he won the fight against Overeem, his next fight would be a title shot and he would retire after that fight – since he lost, well, that just sped up his retirement process.

It’s not a huge deal that Lesnar retired; he was entertaining to watch, mostly because of his hilarious antics, but to not have him on the UFC’s roster is no real loss to anyone. The real loser here is Lesnar. Who ends a career on a loss? I mean, really? By doing so, Lesnar is finishing his career the exact same way that he started it. He also seems to be sticking to the “I’m not on steroids” bit, despite dodging the question by walking out of the room any time a reporter brings it up.

Lesnar’s future most likely consists of going back to the WWE – steroids are more acceptable there.

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