Longtime MMA competitor Jake Shields was recently released from the UFC following his lackluster loss to Hector Lombard at March 15’s UFC 171. Heading into the bout with a lofty No. 6 ranking, Shields was surprised that he was immediately released after largely smothering most of his competition throughout his UFC stint (and career).
UFC President Jake Shields was quick to say that he liked Shields, but focused on the fact that the 35-year-old grappler was on the decline, noting that he was “just another guy.”
While it’s hard to argue that Shield, who beat Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia in 2013, was just another face, he definitely wasn’t doing himself any favors with his grinding (and many would say boring) style. Still, Shields hadn’t lost since a pair of defeats to longtime former champion Georges St. Pierre and top contender Jake Ellenberger in 2011.
But the former Strikeforce middleweight champion reportedly carried a high price tag of $120,000 per fight, an amount that just won’t be shelled too long for a fighter who isn’t generating pay-per-view revenue.
Regardless, it looks like he found a new home today. Shields has reportedly signed a multi-fight deal with burgeoning promotion World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and will debut sometime this summer. Shields expressed his enthusiasm at the signing in a statement to Bleacher Report today:
"I am very excited to be fighting for the World Series of Fighting. They have one of if not the best welterweight divisions in the world and I look forward to fighting great fighters like Jon Fitch, Rousimar Palhares, Josh Burkman, Gerald Harris and more.
I also believe I will now be in an environment where fighters are embraced which will allow my performance at my very best! My first fight for WSOF will be soon so stay tuned. My thanks to the MMA community and fans for all the love and support."
Shields took a small jab at the UFC with his words, and he may have a legitimate gripe with the world’s biggest MMA promotion. But the fact will always remain that you simply have to not only win in the Octagon, but also do it excitingly.
The Northern California native will now move on to face the top-level talent in the WSOF 170-pound division. UFC castoff Rousimar Palhares recently took the belt from Steve Carl with a first round heel hook at WSOF 9 and will face next face Jon Fitch, a man who faced a very similar UFC exit as Shields, at July’s WSOF 11.
Something tells me that Shields may just debut there to put him on schedule with a possible shot at Palhares or Fitch. Shields might turn either one of those fights into one of the drawn-out grappling fests that he’s infamous for, but at least he’ll have a chance.
What are your thoughts on Shields’ chances in WSOF?
Photo Credit: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports