Dana White: Jake Shields Is Just Another Guy, He’s On The Downswing

Jake Shieds’ recent release from the UFC wasn’t the most surprising news to hit the headlines lately, but it was another example of how cut-throat this business of MMA really is. The former Elite XC, Strikeforce and Shooto champion was cut after his first loss in three years, once again proving that there can be no ‘off nights’ in the UFC.

The release had echos of former title contender Jon Fitch’s situation; both men had competed at a very high level for a very long time, but were subsequently axed without hesitation. UFC President Dana White gave his two cents on the situation, as he spoke to Yahoo Sports:

“We look at everything,” White said. “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.”

Other pieces of that puzzle may include the failed drugs test that Shields submitted after his UFC 150 bout with Ed Herman, his ‘less than entertaining’ and close bouts with Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Yoshihiro Akiyama, or his incredibly cagey bout against Hector Lombard at UFC 171. DW continued:

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“Mixed martial arts is a young man’s game,” White said. “I like Jake Shields a lot. But let’s be honest here: Where was he going in this [welterweight] 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 [expletive].’ Right now, at this point, he’s just another guy.”

A clear-cut difference in White’s description of Shields, when you consider the UFC’s official statement had said ‘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.’ It appears that White also sees the connection between Shields and Fitch, as he explained:

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“All of the people who had been [expletive] and moaning to me about Jon Fitch when he was fighting for us and were complaining that he was so boring, they all got outraged when we cut him. And it’s like the same thing now with Jake. Well, the media didn’t even think he was good enough to be in the Top 10. We have 500 guys under contract, which is a lot more than we really need, and after each show, we really, really need to take a close look at what we do with guys.”

Although released by the biggest promotion, there are likely numerous platforms for Shields to consider now. After just one loss in his last five fights in the UFC, I expect the Jiu-Jitsu ace to enter quite high in the rankings of his new promotion. Or perhaps Shields will decide to call it a day, either way I’ll keep you posted.

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