Watching this MMA Rated interview with Elite XC’s Jared Shaw where he answers questions as to where he’s been and what he’s doing for the company now (you should also check out their interview with a very drunk Tonya Evinger), I get the strange sense that he’s lying to me. What’s more, I feel like he knows how transparent he seems, but he’s just charging ahead with it anyway. In a strange way, I almost respect that. Almost.
But let’s talk for a moment about Elite XC’s decision of late to push Jake Shields as the world’s best welterweight, which Shaw also claims. Obviously, they like it because it allows them to call out Georges St. Pierre and the UFC, thus piggybacking on the success of their betters. But it also makes them seem a little desperate, and it’s not hard to tell that this is a strategy destined for failure.
It’s not that Jake Shields isn’t a good fighter. He is, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Elite XC has essentially just decided to proclaim him the number one welterweight because he is their number one welterweight, and because it’s the only way they can think of to get some of the UFC magic to rub off on them. Plus, they can be secure in the knowledge that the UFC will never actually take them up on the cross-promotional offer.
This is what makes it so insincere, this call for a unification match. Elite XC doesn’t really believe there is any possibility that it will happen. That’s why they’re pressing for it. It would be pretty devastating for them to have their champion demolished by GSP, thus further cementing in the minds of MMA fans the notion that they are a second-tier promotion at best. But they don’t have to worry about it, because they know as well as Dana White does that there is very little for the UFC to gain by making that fight happen.
To the UFC’s credit, they’ve shown a willingness in the past to cross-promote. They sent Chuck Liddell to fight in Pride back when the two companies were on equal footing. But after Pride burned them by not following through on their end of that bargain, the UFC would probably be unlikely to jump into a similar deal with any organization, particularly one that needs the UFC’s star-power much more than the UFC needs theirs.
If Shields really wants to fight GSP, here’s how he can make it happen: sign with the UFC. That’s the only way it will happen in the foreseeable future. I know that’s not exactly comforting, but it’s the truth.