(Jake’s drowsy-teenager defense was no match for the hard-hitting Cuban. / Photo via Getty)
Jake Shields’s decision loss to Hector Lombard last month at UFC 171 was his first defeat in two-and-a-half-years — and yet, it was enough of a justification for the UFC to cut him from the promotion. Shields’s manager Lex McMahon confirmed the firing with MMAFighting.com this morning, putting out the following statement:
“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.”
Not since Jon Fitch have we been this shocked and outraged over the firing of a fighter who we didn’t really care for in the first place. Shields was coming into the Lombard match on a two-fight win streak, with split-decision victories over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. And he would have been riding a four-fight win streak if not for the mysterious no-contest he caught after winning a decision against Ed Herman in a middleweight bout at UFC 150, then failing his drug test.
Still, Shields was unable to secure a single stoppage victory in eight attempts within the Octagon, and his blowout losses to Georges St-Pierre, Jake Ellenberger, and Lombard secured his “perennial contender” status. Unless there’s more to this story, it seems like the UFC simply fired Shields at its first opportunity because he was no longer of any use to the promotion. Perhaps Shields was too [expletive] expensive for the UFC to keep around; that’s the drawback of being a highly-ranked veteran without a real fanbase.
The question is, where does Shields go from here? Should he sign with the World Series of Fighting and join their deep roster of welterweight UFC castoffs? Should he go to OneFC and set up the superfight against Ben Askren that hardcore MMA fans have been begging for (just kidding)? Let us know what you think, and how you feel about Shields’s firing — is it bullcrap, or long overdue?