Hermes Franca has been released from his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it was revealed over the weekend.
The 33-year-old made the announcement in a posting on The Underground mixed martial arts discussion forum (www.mma.tv)
Franca is currently serving a 12 month suspension for steroid use that was impsoed following his UFC lightweight title fight with Sean Sherk in July 2007.
However, the UFC decision to release him was nothing to do with the ban imposed by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), according to Franca.
Franca said it was his own decision to ask to be released from his obligation to the UFC as he was hoping to fight abroad in order to earn some money while he is banned from fighting in the US.
But the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt was then told by the CSAC that if he fought anywhere outside the US while his ban was still in effect, he would never be allowed to fight in America again.
He must now wait until July until he can compete again and has not ruled out a return to the UFC, where his record stands at 5-2.
Meanwhile, Sean Sherk is due to face BJ Penn in May for a battle to decide who is truly king of the lightweights after Penn won an interim version of the lightweight belt at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England last month.
Sherk had also been issued with a 12 month suspenson for steroid use following the Franca fight, but had it reduced to six months on appeal after claiming he had not knowingly ingested any banned substance.
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