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4/21/14 9:56 AM
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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."

 


4/21/14 10:04 AM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor

I don't claim to speak for anyone but i guess me, but I loved Maia vs. Shields.

4/21/14 10:04 AM
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caposa
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"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."

Truth.

4/21/14 10:04 AM
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The Real Asian Cowboy
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No doubt that Shields is a great fighter. But he didn't leave his mark in any way while in the UFC. Wins over Maia and Woodley are great, but he hasn't had a finish since 2009. And his fights are hardly FOTN. He will only end up a gatekeeper in the UFC.

Dana's explanation sounds right to me.
4/21/14 10:07 AM
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BeauTown
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It definetly sucks for shields , but to be honest I don't like his style , he does nothing in a fight to try to finish, he hasn't evolved at all! He was probly paid quite a bit aswel! I'd rather see him where he is at now in wsof ! Very boring fighter Phone Post 3.0
4/21/14 10:08 AM
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shaqitup
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does anybody deny the zuffa scumbag tactics?
4/21/14 10:09 AM
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caposa
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The Real Asian Cowboy - No doubt that Shields is a great fighter. But he didn't leave his mark in any way while in the UFC. Wins over Maia and Woodley are great, but he hasn't had a finish since 2009. And his fights are hardly FOTN. He will only end up a gatekeeper in the UFC.

Dana's explanation sounds right to me.

If finishing is that important then change the pay structure. Wins and losses, that's what it's supposed to be about.

Guess who else hasn't had a finish since 2009? I'll give you a hint, he's the UFC's biggest PPV draw and considered one of the best fighters on the planet.

4/21/14 10:14 AM
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HardHittingHeeb
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Edited: 04/21/14 10:26 AM
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TTT

Remember this photo: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/000/943/306/JakeandDana_crop_340x234.jpg?1272209813

Jake just got fed to Dan Henderson but managed to win (domination too). Dana had a big boner to get Jake, who was out of contract with Strikeforce at the time (nobody thought he had a chance with Hendo).

Two weeks after losing his father/cornerman/best-friend he still fought a monster named Jake Ellenberger rather then backing out of the event.

Fuck you Dana. Go drop some more "Jake Shields" money on the blackjack table and tweet selfies you baller.
4/21/14 10:15 AM
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Don_Dada
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Theres no denying that Zuffa put pressure on fighters to fight a certain way. A thing that they have publicly criticised other promotions for doing in the past.

4/21/14 10:22 AM
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Brockback Mountain
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Fight boring, Get popped for peds and then lose thats a recipe for getting cut.

Shields seems like a great guy and a great fighter but its not surprising he got the axe.
4/21/14 10:24 AM
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Tomato Can
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Cutting Shields was pretty much a business decision. He was a veteran making very good money, and at the same time he's not a draw and he hasn't even won a fight decisively in like 2 years. His cut shocked me a lot less than Okami who was only 1 fight removed from beating Lombard.

All of that said, I still don't think it's a good precedent to cut high level fighters. If the UFC is concerned about spending too much on non-draws, they should try renegotiating contracts after a loss, rather than outright cutting them which accomplishes nothing but making the talent pool shallower. DW can be very schizophrenic when it comes to who to cut and who to keep. I've been very disappointed with a few of the recent cuts, along with the failures to sign Askren, Khalidov, and Bibiano Fernandes.
4/21/14 10:28 AM
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caposa
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Tomato Can - Cutting Shields was pretty much a business decision. He was a veteran making very good money, and at the same time he's not a draw and he hasn't even won a fight decisively in like 2 years. His cut shocked me a lot less than Okami who was only 1 fight removed from beating Lombard.

All of that said, I still don't think it's a good precedent to cut high level fighters. If the UFC is concerned about spending too much on non-draws, they should try renegotiating contracts after a loss, rather than outright cutting them which accomplishes nothing but making the talent pool shallower. DW can be very schizophrenic when it comes to who to cut and who to keep. I've been very disappointed with a few of the recent cuts, along with the failures to sign Askren, Khalidov, and Bibiano Fernandes.

Bibiano and Khalidov declined their offers, so that I understand. But to pass on Ben Askren is indefensible. They are no longer looking to sign the best fighters in the world.

4/21/14 10:29 AM
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The Real Asian Cowboy
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caposa - 
The Real Asian Cowboy - No doubt that Shields is a great fighter. But he didn't leave his mark in any way while in the UFC. Wins over Maia and Woodley are great, but he hasn't had a finish since 2009. And his fights are hardly FOTN. He will only end up a gatekeeper in the UFC.

Dana's explanation sounds right to me.

If finishing is that important then change the pay structure. Wins and losses, that's what it's supposed to be about.

Guess who else hasn't had a finish since 2009? I'll give you a hint, he's the UFC's biggest PPV draw and considered one of the best fighters on the planet.


Using a champion who is a PPV draw doesn't help your case. Despite not having finishes he still brings money in and is the champ.



4/21/14 10:31 AM
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VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT
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I agree with Jake here. I understand why the UFC cut him and he is partly to blame for his departure but I still don't agree with cutting guys like Shields, Fitch and Okami.

I also thought Shields vs. Maia was tremendous. Phone Post 3.0
4/21/14 10:32 AM
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VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT
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caposa -
Tomato Can - Cutting Shields was pretty much a business decision. He was a veteran making very good money, and at the same time he's not a draw and he hasn't even won a fight decisively in like 2 years. His cut shocked me a lot less than Okami who was only 1 fight removed from beating Lombard.

All of that said, I still don't think it's a good precedent to cut high level fighters. If the UFC is concerned about spending too much on non-draws, they should try renegotiating contracts after a loss, rather than outright cutting them which accomplishes nothing but making the talent pool shallower. DW can be very schizophrenic when it comes to who to cut and who to keep. I've been very disappointed with a few of the recent cuts, along with the failures to sign Askren, Khalidov, and Bibiano Fernandes.

Bibiano and Khalidov declined their offers, so that I understand. But to pass on Ben Askren is indefensible. They are no longer looking to sign the best fighters in the world.

Agreed. Not signing Ben Askren was pretty eye opening in terms of what the UFC is trying to do. Phone Post 3.0
4/21/14 10:34 AM
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stainlesssteel
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Why can't the UFC just renegiate down these contracts for veterans who might be on losing streaks and on the way out? If Shields was making 150/150, negotiate down to 75/75 for say two fights and if he wins both, he goes back to 150 for the next fight.

That way you don't have to alienate his fans, which if he is very popular, say Wanderlei Silva, could have huge repercussions.

4/21/14 11:04 AM
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EKPOGI
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Kirik - 

I don't claim to speak for anyone but i guess me, but I loved Maia vs. Shields.


Maia vs Shields is awesome. say goodbye to technical grappling fights in the ufc.lots of Leonard Garcia fights.
4/21/14 11:04 AM
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eljamaiquino
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caposa -

"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."

Truth.

Floyd is his own promoter. Why doesn't Jake try doing that, and see if his salary goes up. Phone Post 3.0
4/21/14 11:06 AM
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caposa
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stainlesssteel - 

Why can't the UFC just renegiate down these contracts for veterans who might be on losing streaks and on the way out? If Shields was making 150/150, negotiate down to 75/75 for say two fights and if he wins both, he goes back to 150 for the next fight.

That way you don't have to alienate his fans, which if he is very popular, say Wanderlei Silva, could have huge repercussions.

Because they are trying to eliminate fighters like Fitch, Shields, and Okami from the equation entirely.

 

4/21/14 11:11 AM
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Sukulaku
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Cutting guys like Shields, not getting guys like Askren into the UFC and giving title shots to fighters like Gina Carano just makes UFC less like a sport and more like a spectacle. If you want to promote MMA as a sport, you have to make less exciting decisions.
4/21/14 11:13 AM
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1800champagne
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Kirik -

I don't claim to speak for anyone but i guess me, but I loved Maia vs. Shields.

Ditto. Phone Post 3.0
4/21/14 11:18 AM
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dunc
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The UFC is a brand interested in making money and furthering the brand. The UFC isn't interested in having the best mixed martial artists in the world fighting in their organization.
4/21/14 11:23 AM
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MagSlim
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You can't have your color commentator go out and start felating a prospect saying he deserves a title shot after two wins, and then cut the guy that beat him two fights ago for being 'boring.'

Well, I take that back. You can do that if you're the UFC, it just makes you look like a transparent hypocrite.

This guy submitted currently #1 ranked ww Robbie Lawler! He beat Dan fucking Henderson! He grapplefucked Demian Maia!

Just another guy my ass, what a pussy Dana is.
4/21/14 11:26 AM
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joe canada
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I'm a big fan of Shields. Let me start with that.

The problem is more than just his contract or that he grinds out wins.

A major problem, in my humble opinion, is that he's neither a champ nor a gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are guys who only let the best past. Guys like Fitch and Shields don't let ANYONE past. Guys like him and Fitch may not be the top guy in their division, but they will shut down and beat almost all the other fighters.

Hard to build a fighter up for a title shot only to have Jake humiliate him (a la Fitch/Alves, for example). Meanwhile, Neither Fitch nor Shields has a highlight of fighting. I've enjoyed all their fights from a technical standpoint, but it's not a that pleases the highlight reel variety of fan.

I thought what Sheilds did to Mayem was poetry. What Fitch did to Alves was the quintessence of MMA. What Maia did to Fitch was a thing of beauty (barring the glove touch start). But in none of those fights could you edit up a highlight.
4/21/14 11:26 AM
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DragonWrath
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eljamaiquino - 
caposa -

"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."

Truth.

Floyd is his own promoter. Why doesn't Jake try doing that, and see if his salary goes up. Phone Post 3.0

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