Strikeforce releases Jake Shields

Sherdog is reporting that Strikeforce has released its middleweight champion Jake Shields. Formerly of EliteXC, Shields’ contract did not have a ‘champion’s clause’ that would’ve kept him committed to Strikeforce even after his contract lapsed. His contract expired after he successfully defended against Dan Henderson, and unsurprisingly Dana White made public his desire to sign the fighter even appearing in public with Shields at WEC 48.

After that appearance Strikeforce seemed resigned to losing its champion, making it clear that although there was a clause in Shields’ contract allowing them to match any offer they wouldn’t get sucked into a bidding war with the UFC. Indeed, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had already started talking about his plans for a tournament for a vacated middleweight title. The decision of Strikeforce to fire Shields brings to an end the uncertainty surrounding the future of the title and allows Strikeforce to move forward with crowning a new champion.

Jake Shields’s father and manager Jack told Sherdog that he has made an initial pitch to the UFC and is now waiting for the promotion to make their initial offer. Shields Snr confirmed that they had talked to the UFC about Shields fighting at either welterweight or middleweight although the direct reference to facing Anderson Silva seems to suggest that they would prefer the latter, no doubt due to George St. Pierre being committed to fighting Josh Koscheck later this year.   Should he sign, Shields could possibly recieve a title shot in his promotional debut based on his status as a champion and his six year,  fourteen fight winning streak.

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