UFC welterweight Jake Shields has been released from his UFC contract.
His manager, Lex McMahon, released the following statement to confirm the news earlier today.
"Jake Shields has been released by the UFC. Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita," it read.
"Jake is an elite athlete who is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world with a long history of winning at a championship level."
"Jake and our team are already exploring options. I'm confident that Jake will have a new promotion to call home very soon. Jake thanks his fans for their support and looks forward to competing for them again soon."
Shields' release comes as something of a surprise in the world of MMA. He holds a decent 4-3 (1NC) record in the UFC. Most recently he lost to Hector Lombard via unanimous decision. He was currently ranked number eleven in the UFC 170lbs division, ahead of people like Eric Silva and Mike Pyle.
Shields entered the UFC in 2010 with a huge reputation. He was the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and his most recent victory came against Dan Henderson. Shields dominated Hendo for five rounds in the fight, surprisingly out-wrestling the former Olympian.
Many thought that he would be the man to dethrone UFC welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. His first bout came by defeating the handy Martin Kampmann. He then faced GSP, where he took two rounds from the champion but lost on the judges scorecards at UFC 129.
Since then, Shields has been patchy. He lost shockingly in his next fight in the form of Jake Ellenberger in just 53 seconds. He then beat Yoshihero Akiyama, had a win overturned against Ed Herman for the use of illegal substances before defeating Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia.
This is another shock cut from the UFC. It was not long ago that former UFC middleweight title contender Yushin Okami lost his place on the roster. Okami at the time had been on a three fight win streak including wins over Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard before losing to Ronaldo Souza and being cut.
I think that letting Shields go is a very bad move from the UFC. Cutting one of their stronger fighters will allow either Bellator, World Series Of Fighting or ONE FC to add to their growing rosters. Having a top star like Shields will make other fighters contemplate signing for the other promotions if they are accumulating a decent roster.
It has to be wages for the reason of cutting Shields. He makes $75,000 a fight and likely has a PPV percentage when he signed for the UFC due to his reputation. However, as we have seen with Ben Akren and ONE FC, other companies are prepared to pay this for the top fighters.
I'd like to see Shields sign with Bellator over the other promotions. He can fight at either welterweight or middleweight and Bellator has by far the best rosters were he would be most competitive.
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