It looks like those of us hoping to see Jake Shields compete against the world’s top welterweights in the UFC are going to have to wait a little while longer.
According to Aroundtheoctagon.com, and confirmed by MMA Weekly with Jake’s father/manager, Jake has signed an agreement to fight Joe Riggs on the first card of Strikeforce’s new deal with Showtime. Understandably, Shields has decided he’d rather compete inside a Strikeforce cage than battle the promotion in a courtroom. From MMA Weekly:
“Originally, EliteXC had been up in the air for so long, we had gotten a lawyer and were prepared to file suit to get a release,” said the elder Shields. “Then we went to Strikeforce, and we know Scott Coker. We’ve always had good relations with him. It was much smarter thing to do than getting involved with anything legal. It just seemed the right thing to do to go head and finish the contract. It’s a lot better than waiting around.”
Shields said there were still details to be negotiated on his son’s obligations to Strikeforce, including the exact time frame of the contract and number of fights, but said he would make a main event appearance “against a well-known opponent” in the summer for his second Strikeforce fight.
While I was certainly one of the many who wanted to see Jake test his skills in the Octagon, it’s definitely much better to see him agree to fight for Strikeforce rather than tying himself up in litigation for who knows how long.
I’m not sure Joe Riggs is an opponent I’m looking forward to seeing Jake fight, but it sounds like there’s bigger fights to come for Jake down the line. Personally, with Shinya Aoki stepping up in weight for DREAM, I’d love to see those two go at should Aoki become available later in the year.
No matter who Jake fights though, it’s just great to see another fighter who was stung by ProElite get the opportunity to earn a living once again.