(The signs were everywhere, including Jake’s FB and MySpace pages. How did we miss them?)
In an interview with All Headline News today, UFC president Dana White asserted that Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields will be on his way to the Octagon sooner than later. Shields technically has one fight remaining on his SF contract, but it will likely expire before he has the opportunity to fulfill the obligation. White is confident that Shields, who definitely exited the promotion on a high note Saturday night with his dominant win over former PRIDE champion and UFC castaway Dan Henderson, will not be long testing free agent waters.
Although the wheels to add the 31-year-old Californian to the UFC’s stacked welterweight roster are not yet in motion, as soon as Strikeforce exercises its rights to re-sign Shields (something White is confident will likely not happen) he says the UFC will make an offer to the Cesar Gracie black belt.
“Jake Shields is definitely going to leave Strikeforce and he’s definitely coming to the UFC," White told AHN’s Shawn Krest.
In the article, White, who reveals that the UFC was very close to signing a deal with CBS prior to EliteXC winning the cable TV lottery by signing with the network first, explained why he thinks Strikeforce’s days in the fight game are numbered.
“First of all, they put all of their eggs in the Dan Henderson basket. They went out and acquired him and thought he was worth a lot more money than we were willing to pay him. They went out and paid him more money than they can afford to. I know, you know, everybody knows that these guys should not have been on CBS. We were close[to doing a deal with them]. Then the ShoBox idiots said, ‘We can do this. We’ll compete with UFC. We know boxing. MMA is just another kind of fighting.’ Showtime Boxing sucks. How do they think they’re going to do better at MMA?”
White also added more of his thoughts on the brawl that marred the CBS-broadcasted event that attracted less than 2.75 million viewers.
“They never respected Jake Shields, who is their champion. They didn’t even have him in their commercials for the fight. Then the fight happens and Jake Shields wins. They were like, ’Oh my God. He won. What do we do?’ I think they sent (Miller) in there to challenge him, so that if Jake leaves, it looks like he doesn’t want to fight Miller. That‘s not the way you do it. You let the winner speak, then you ask him at the end about whether he‘s willing to fight Miller. I don’t think that’s the kind of attention CBS is looking for,” responded White. I don’t know what network would be thrilled about what we saw Saturday night. This isn’t pro wrestling. It’s a real sport with real athletes. That‘s not the kind of PR that we need. But that’s them. They’re a Podunk, unknown, small-time organization. There shouldn‘t have been that many guys in the cage in the first place!”
An angry, late-night phone call to White by Gus Johnson is forthcoming.