Shields: UFC being taken in 'kind of ridiculous' direction


Jake Shields was released by the UFC earlier this month after a single loss, to Hector Lombard. Shields, 35, had previously beaten Yoshihiro Akiyama by unanimous decision and Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley by split decision. Shields also had a win over Ed Herman changed to a no contest, following his positive test for a prohibited substance. It was Shields first loss in nearly three years.

The release was doubtless influenced in part by the expensive contract Shields was fighting under. 

The cut was also part of a larger trend in the UFC, in which for example Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch were released and Ben Askren was passed over, due to a fighting style not friendly to asses in seats. 

And as well, the UFC is looking to promote young, new talent, rather than fighters like Shields who have been fighting since the late 90s.

UFC president Dana White discussed it with Yahoo Sports Kevin Iole.

"We look at everything," said White. "Everything. Money has something to do with it. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But that wasn't the only reason or the main reason. It was a part of the piece of the puzzle as we were doing our evaluation of him."

"Mixed martial arts is a young man's game. I like Jake Shields a lot. But let's be honest here: Where was he going in this division of animals we have? He's on the downswing, and he's never going to be the guy. His stand-up never improved. He hasn't really shown anything in his last couple of fights to make you go, 'Holy s---.' Right now, at this point, he's just another guy."

Now, in an interview with MMAFighting, Shields responds.

"I was definitely a little surprised," said Shields. "Especially coming off some big wins, guys in the top-10, main events."

"I definitely didn't think they'd drop me after one loss. But, you know, I had a terrible performance. I certainly didn't feel like I fought like myself that night. But, given that it was one performance, you should get a second chance to go out there and try to win again. And I wasn't given that. But, ultimately it is what it is."

"I didn't read what Dana said, but ‘another guy?' So are [a lot of other fighters] I guess, considering I beat at least half the guys in the top-10. That's a little bit ridiculous. But I guess you have to justify it somehow."

"My last two fights have been really close and I haven't finished, so I figure maybe they're just doing that. But that doesn't really... I feel like the sport, they're trying to pull it away from being the best in the sport, and just putting it into, oh, you gotta go and slug it out and fight the way they want you to, which is kind of ridiculous. You wouldn't have guys like Floyd Mayweather being the best in the world if [boxing executives] pressured him like that.

"But it's where it is right now. You just have to deal with it.

"It's a rough industry. You never know what the next day is going to bring. One loss and all of a sudden you're out of the whole show. From being lined up to get a title shot, to being out of the show, you never know where you're going to end up.

"It's definitely a little frustrating, but I just have to not let it get to me and just keep going out there and winning fights and doing what I do."

Shields has now signed an exclusive multi-fight deal with the World Series of Fighting.

With the addition of Shields, the WSoF welterweight division is now one of the best on the planet with such top talent as current champion Rousimar Palhares and top contenders Jon Fitch, Josh Burkman, Steve Carl, and Gerald Harris. 
Shields is expected to debut in the World Series of Fighting decagon in July. He will make his first appearance against an opponent to be named shortly.
"I have so much to prove, and I will become the World Series of Fighting welterweight champion," said Shields. "I'm really looking forward to fighting at my new home with World Series of Fighting.  I think that when you look at the World Series of Fighting welterweight roster, there is no denying that they're housing many of the world's best, and I'm proud to be a part of that group."


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rkm456 site profile image  

4/24/14 3:26 AM by rkm456

A round usually needs to be extremely lop sided in the striking department for it to negate a takedown when the judges are deciding round. GSP/ Condit, and Machida/Davis are just 2 examples I can think of off the top of my head.As for subs taking too long to cook up, that really only applies to the guy who's on the bottom. I don't really have issue with forcing guys on the bottom to be more active. If guys would be more active from the bottom, we wouldn't be having these types of discussion. Hell, the very reason Shields just got cut was because in his last fight, he spent the whole 15 minutes just trying to maintain Lombard's posture in his guard, and praying for an opening so he could throw up a Hail Mary sub. A superior grappler will dictate and movement of the battle whether they're on top or bottom. There's no excuse for inactivity by either party.In reality, I'd prefer a return to minimal rules and a single extremely long round, but as we've discussed at this point it's a sport.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 8:42 PM by Wasa-B

Good point on the tds scoring however im talking about time to work on the ground. Tds also do not score more than striking. Of course, it depends on the context and the overall offense in any given round but striking is usually weighed the most. Good point the standups not being needed in a 3 min round though but i still dont like it for those who are going for the submission. Subs take too much time to cook, 3 min rounds are def not enough, its hard enough with a 5 min round often.

rkm456 site profile image  

4/23/14 3:23 PM by rkm456

Wasa-B: No, I never suggested a 3 round fight. Regarding 3 minutes rounds favoring the striker, all grappling revolves around the takedown, if it doesn't, it's not grappling, and with the way the sport is judged takedowns score more heavily than anything else in the sport. So to say that shorter rounds favors strikers is incorrect. If anything it gives an aggressive grappler more opportunity to score. Look at the length of wrestling matches (both total and rounds) and then tell me that grapplers are at a disadvantage with shorter rounds. I reiterate that I see no reason for standups to occur quicker as regardless of how a round is playing out, you're never further than 3 minutes away from another one.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 1:43 PM by Wasa-B

Well, you are the one that made the suggestion. ;)And like i said, im fine with 5 min rounds. And yes, sports always revolve around the rule setting. Id like to see knees on the ground, fine with no soccer kicks. My point is that things are already softened up enough for the casuals. A 3 min round would cross the line imo.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 1:40 PM by Wasa-B

"DarkhorseRising - you can't be one dimensional and expect to make it in the big leagues anymore.""you just keep blithering on about how nobody would have a problem if it was stand up, dude, I never said anything like that."Again, we agree that you cant "make it" as someone popular with an unspectacular grappling game. However, for the 100th time (talk about circles), Shields beat the #3 and #8 guys in his division in his last 3 before he was axed. Do you really consider someone who beat guys ranked that highly to have not "made it" in where it really counts - beating top competition? Im not saying its the end of the world that he's gone, like Okami, he is on the older side and had enough time to make his mark. However, the rea mark of "making it" (as in rating how good someone is) is who you can beat not how popular you are with the casuals. Ive already mentioned that he was def not worth the meney was making but it a just world and if the UFC was really the "uperbowl of MMA," he would have been offered a paycut and a chance to stay since he is still competing and beating guys at the top level. You dont see teams disqualified from world cup competitions because they are not popular with the bros. We all have our favourites and guys we dont like to watch. Thats not the point. The point is that they are cutting top guys who are all grapplers because of the bro base. And as your shit examples in Markes and Guillard show, they have never done that to a striker on the same level.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 1:32 PM by Wasa-B

And if you took another second and didnt rush to cherry pick your argument so much, you would have also realized he is also 2-5-1 NC in his last 8. He also lost to every top guy he faced in those last 8 where as Shields, again, beat the #3 and #8 guys in his last 3. Any more weak ass, shit examples?

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 1:26 PM by Wasa-B

A shorter round absolutely favours the striker and is a disadvantage for the grappler. Also, we already have strikers or those who want to get back to their feet often close their guard and wait for the standup. With a shorter round, this will happen quicker. Ask any grappling focsed pro fighter about this, id be surprised if a single one would advocate for shorter rounds.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/23/14 1:23 PM by Wasa-B

Do homophobic insults make your arguements look that much better in 2014? A longer round lets for the better fighters to prevail, a more even playing field. A shorter round favours the striker when there is already enough stacked against the grappler.

rkm456 site profile image  

4/23/14 1:02 PM by rkm456

The unified rules of Mixed Martial Arts already made it no longer MMA. If you want "real MMA" rounds need to be at least 10 minutes and kicks/ knees/ stomps to grounded opponents, head butts, 12-6 elbows, kicking to the kidney with a heel should all be reinstated, but as it is, this is sport fighting with lots of loop hole rules intended to generate excitement and soften the sport for the casual fan. In order to clean it up you either need to have a drastic reversal in rules, or commit fully to the idea if it being a sports entertainment product. At least 3 minute rounds quickens the pace without actually removing any of the important parts (which unified rules and the judging criteria already do) It's also worth mentioning I never said I want to see a 3 round fight, so don't try to make a point around that when it isn't something I want anything to do with.

MattyECB site profile image  

4/23/14 12:56 PM by MattyECB

Exactly, You believe the UFC should root out fighters who they deem too one dimensional and cut them even as they kick ass because they know (somehow) that they won't ever be able to win a title (even though they can have careers as illustrious as having wins over Lawler, Maia, Woodley, Daley, Condit, Miller, Okami, Sakurai, Hendo...etc)   Whereas I believe that instead of making that entirely subjective judgement call, the UFC should wait until the fighter proves himself too one dimensional to compete. Especially since there's no longer such a thing as one dimensional, there's just Strikers who use their grappling defensively to keep the game in their preferred phase or as an ancillary skill to keep themselves alive when they're forced out of their comfort zone (e.g. JDS, Hardy, Hunt, AS, Ludwig, Daley) Grapplers who use their striking defensively to get the game to their preferred phase or as an ancillary skill to keep themselves alive when they're forced out of their comfort zone by TDD (e.g. Askren, Fitch, Okami, Shields, Stun Gun), and trully mixed fighters (and this is actually incredibly rare) who use their TDs, offensive submissions, GnP and striking equally (Frank Shamrock, GSP, Mighty Mouse, Jon Jones). What you consider one dimensional, is a fighter having one dominant skill, not a one dimensional fighter. You really don't think Fitch trained at Tiger Muay Thai? lol   But you're right, a truly one dimensional fighter can't cut it in the big leagues, that's why Shields devotes so much damn time to striking, he's just not that good not unlike how some fighters might have amazing defensive wrestling, but mediocre TDs and Subs so they stay standing, or some have great offensive wrestling and positional BJJ, but poor offensive BJJ so they use TDs and GnP to win a fight. If you want to see how pure grapplers do in MMA now, see how fucking stupid Royce looked when he came back and tried to compete, that's not Shields, that's a one dimensional fighter lol   Anyways, like you said, this is going in circles so I won't argue any more. I gave you a VU for tenacity though if that means anything. Hope you don't think this was anything personal or beyond internet arguing lol