("Tell ‘em you want a $125,000 base salary to start, increasing $25,000 with every win."
"And a custom Hummer, like the ones they give to Ultimate Fighter coaches."
"And an immediate shot at Anderson Silva."
"And a percentage of the…wait, what?")
After a difficult bidding period in which Jake Shields was asking for more money than Scott Coker thought he was worth, Strikeforce released their middleweight champion yesterday, putting Shields on the open market. Shields’s Strikeforce contract ended after his April title defense against Dan Henderson, which allowed other organizations to make bids on his services. Strikeforce was in the matching stage of the process, and had the option to meet any competing offers, but ultimately decided that letting Shields walk was their best option.
As Scott Coker said on MMA Weekly radio, "The numbers, there was a big gap between what we thought was real, and what we thought was going to work, and I call that the numbers dance. It is what it is, and we’re going to probably be moving forward with that tournament."
Tensions between Shields and Strikeforce have reportedly been strained since he appeared at WEC 48, sitting next to UFC president Dana White, who mouthed "he’s mine" at the camera. Strikeforce may have even tried to block Shields from attending Saturday’s Fedor vs. Werdum show.
It goes without saying that Jake and his father/manager Jack Shields are leaning toward the UFC and the big fights the organization holds. From Sherdog:
Prior to news of the release, Jack Shields told Sherdog.com that he submitted the fighter’s asking price to the UFC on Wednesday and was awaiting an initial bid from the rival promotion to pass onto Strikeforce for review. The elder Shields said he submitted figures for a series of bouts he thought requisite if his son fought the top contenders in both the UFC’s welterweight and middleweight divisions.
Shields said his son would like to debut as a UFC middleweight, possibly against champion Anderson Silva, as welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will be tied up with “The Ultimate Fighter” reality TV series and a pending bout with rival coach Josh Koscheck later this year.
“We didn’t come to agreement with Strikeforce, but Jake’s excited to challenge himself against the likes of Anderson Silva and others in the UFC,” said Shields.
Shields obviously belongs in the UFC, but he might be overeager in his desire to fight Silva or GSP, at least right away. After all, he began competing as a middleweight in Strikeforce more out of necessity than anything else. I’d think Shields would need at least one qualifying fight at welterweight before taking on GSP, and several at middleweight before the name Anderson Silva even crosses his mind. Your thoughts?