Former title-contender Jake Shields was released by the UFC on Monday, putting an end to a four-year stint with the promotion that spanned eight fights.
Shields, an ex-Strikeforce and EliteXC champion, shouldn’t have much trouble landing work with another MMA promotion, and maybe it’s for the better.
Sure, competing in the UFC – at least for maybe 90-percent of the world – is the ultimate, the pinnacle. But there are still plenty of good fights outside the promotion that athletes can get; and for Shields, that’s a good thing.
His style, while successful as evidence by his 29 career wins, is often ripped by media and fans. Heck, even fighters such as Hector Lombard have gone off on how “boring” Shields is inside the cage.
Following a rough 2011 that saw Shields lose to both Georges St-Pierre – for the UFC title – and Jake Ellenberger via TKO, along with the ultimate loss of his father, he rebounded to post a four-fight unbeaten streak. He scored decisions over the likes of Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, but did have a win overturned to a no-contest after failing a post-fight drug test.
The results of the drug test were never made official, but if you factor that into play, his style of fighting and a large contract, it’s pretty obvious to see why the UFC parted ways as soon as they could.
So, where does Shields go from here? There’s many options:
How about this? Shields, who has competed in such tournaments as the Abu Dhabi Submission World Championships and fought in countries like Japan and Brazil, is a strong name on the world scene.
ONE FC, the top promotion in Asia, currently has a welterweight division that includes former Bellator champion Ben Askren and several other notables.
Don’t you think the idea of pairing Shields with Askren would generate interest in the promotion? You bet it would.
In signing Askren, and having previously brought in fighters such as Roger Huerta, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, money does not seem to be an issue for Victor Cui and crew at ONE FC.
World Series of Fighting
If Shields doesn’t want to venture away from the U.S., the WSOF has been gobbling up former UFC talent in bunches.
Rousimar Palhares recently became the welterweight champion. Jon Fitch calls the WSOF home, as do fighters like Josh Burkman, Gerald Harris, Jorge Santiago, Aaron Simpson, Steve Carl and Ryan Ford.
One would have to believe NBC Sports Network wouldn’t say no to main events like Shields-Palhares, Shields-Fitch or Shields and anybody, as he previously starred on CBS.
Of the three promotions mentioned, Bellator MMA would appear to be the least-likely.
The tournament style might not be something Shields is looking to get himself into, but the promotion did offer Gilbert Melendez, a teammate of Shields, a contract not too long ago, so there is some history to be had.
They have also shown a willingness to take on contracts by bringing in fighters such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, “King Mo” Lawal and Tito Ortiz. And Shields would carry a strong name for all those Spike TV shows.
Askren isn’t there anymore, but Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov, Karl Amoussou, Rick Hawn and a handful of newcomers would all likely enjoy a crack at Shields.
By Dana Becker | TwitterTags: Demian Mama, georges st. pierre, gsp, Hector Lombard, jake ellenberger, Jake Shields, martin kampmann, mma, MMA NEWS, Tyron woodley, ufc, ufc news, Yoshihiro Akiyama