("Based on what we saw here today we think you’d be a great fit for the Strikeforce organization." PicProps: FightMagazine.com)
You’ll have to excuse even the most rabid “Ultimate Fighter” viewers if they don’t remember Wes Shivers. Shivers – one of the hulking NFL washouts not named Matt Mitrione on season 10 of the reality show– lost his first and only “TUF” fight to James McSweeney early on and quickly disappeared from our collective consciousness. In the wake of Shivers not getting invited back for the live finale we thought we’d seen the last of the guy until late last week, when Strikeforce sent out a press release (in triplicate, no less) trumpeting the fact that it’d dug him up to appear on the undercard of tomorrow night’s Challengers called.
Yeah, that’s right, Strikeforce sent out a press release to announce the return of Wes Shivers to MMA. Frankly, we wouldn’t be inclined to say much more (or anything at all) on the subject if not for Shivers’ interview this week with MMA Junkie which – through no fault of his own – effectively points out why/how Strikeforce continues to waste everybody’s time with these Challengers shows.
As it turns out, Shivers was retired from MMA and working as a sheriff’s deputy before getting the call from Strikeforce to come fight on this card in his home state of Mississippi. Obviously, you can’t blame Shivers for saying yes to that offer, but it begs the question: What the hell is Strikeforce even doing calling a mid-30s retiree who hasn’t fought in nearly two years to come fight on a show it supposedly uses to try to cultivate new talent? We know the company likes to stock its undercards with local fighters to try to draw a better live crowd but c’mon, this is ridiculous.
Then you start reading Shivers’ quotes, which increasingly make it sound like he has no business fighting on a card produced by America’s second largest MMA promotion. Or really fighting anywhere, for that matter.
"I’ve got the mentality right now that if I walk out of that cage Friday night and I never fight again … I’m OK with that,” Shivers says. “I’m 33 (years old), and I’ll be 34 soon. I’ve been through a lot, a lot of physical stuff in my life. I can feel it every day, but I’m not one that’s going to give into it. I’m not going to say, ‘I’m too old for this.’ … I plan on doing (this) until the road ends. I guess we’ll wait and see."
So, just to recap: 33 years old. Retired. Hasn’t fought since March, 2009. Taking a “wait and see” attitude to this fight. Body is saying no, but brain is saying yes. What could possibly make this sound like a worse idea for Strikeforce? Oh wait, this: Shivers used to train with Alan Belcher, but for this fight he decided to stay home and train at a local gym called Knockout Fitness and MMA in Flowood, Miss.
"I want to get in the cage and fight like a 275-pound Clay Guida … ," Shivers says. "I went back to my roots and did my camp with the guys I started out with six or seven years ago that have pretty much stuck with me. I was mentally drained, so I got away, got back to work, got my feet back on the ground. I got an opportunity to fight for Strikeforce and I just took it back to the basics from where I began and what got me here.”
So, what you’re saying is the old Wes Shivers is back? Great. Good thing Shivers’ opponent is a dude who is 1-3 and also making his Strikeforce debut.