After a three-year run in the UFC, climaxing with a fight against welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Jake Shields’ time has run out.
Shields has been released by the UFC, which was confirmed by his manager Lex McMahon of Alchemist Management via MMAFighting.com, where he released the following statement, Monday morning:
“Jake Shields has been released by the UFC. Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita. 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’ most recent outing saw him battered and bruised on his way to a unanimous decision loss to Hector Lombard, last month at UFC 171. Prior to that loss, Shields was on a 3-fight winning streak, with victories over Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Shields entered the UFC with a win over Martin Kampmann in October of 2010, which was followed by a championship showdown with welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, at UFC 129. Shields was unable to bring home the gold.
Typically the UFC has had a “three strike” policy, when it comes to the release of fighters: if a fighter were to lose three consecutive matches in a row, they will more often than not find themselves without a job. A policy that they’ve ignored from time to time, allowing certain exciting fighters (or fighters who have been deemed “company men”) a few more losses in a row, before handing them their walking papers.
So… why was Jake Shields not given this same treatment? Well, you have to look at it through the eyes of Dana White.
Jake came in to the UFC, and won a controversial split-decision against Kampmann. He then lost his bid for championship gold, failing to take the title from GSP at UFC 129. While rebounding from that loss (and the tragic passing of his father), Shields was knocked out cold in his next UFC outing by hard-hitting wrestler, Jake Ellenberger. His was able to get back on track after that, thankfully, with a decision win against Yoshihiro Akiyama. Then came his suspension for using a banned substance… And upon his return? Shields eked out two more split-decision (one being a bit controversial) wins, before being battered and out-struck by Lombard.
While I believe that Shields should have been given one more fight, prior to releasing him (controversial or not, he just beat Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley – not an easy feat), if I look at it through Dana’s eyes, I can see why this went down. And I find myself in agreement with the decision.
So, Penn Nation…. What do YOU think? Do you agree with the release? Or do you think it’s just Dana being unfair to a solid fighter?
Let’s hear it!
Tags: Demian Mama, georges st. pierre, gsp, Hector Lombard, jake ellenberger, Jake Shields, martin kampmann, mma, MMA NEWS, Tyron woodley, ufc, ufc news, Yoshihiro Akiyama