Dana White comments on Jake Shields' release from the UFC


Jake Shields (blue gloves) in his win over Demian Maia. Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Shields (blue gloves) in his win over Demian Maia. Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, it was revealed that #11 ranked welterweight and former title challenger Jake Shields was released by the UFC after a loss to Hector Lombard, and the news was met with mixed views from fans and media. Some agreed with the decision, citing his expensive wages and lack of excitement and finishes as reason for the release, though many – myself included – felt this was an injustice after being just a win away from title contention, losing the fight, and sent packing as a result.

UFC president Dana White, in usual White fashion, commented on the release of Shields in an interview with Yahoo! Sport‘s Kevin Iole:

“We look at everything. Everything. Money has something to do with it, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. But that wasn’t the only reason or the main reason. It was a part of the piece of the puzzle as we were doing our evaluation of him.”

White confirmed with Iole that Shields was set to make $120,000 after his fight with Lombard, after reportedly being on a $75k show, $75k win contract. The fight was lacklustre as Shields was ragdolled by the far bigger Lombard, but his wins over Condit, Woodley and Maia – to name just a few – should have kept him in the promotion.

In the above link, Iole suggests that Shields is ‘on a downward trend’, but one loss in five is hardly the same level as the release of Fitch, who won just one in four before his release. Though Fitch is a good comparison point stylistically, he was someway off title contention, while Shields was not. Both were unsuccessful against Georges St-Pierre for the belt, but while Fitch was completely dominated while in his prime, Shields faced him in a relatively new weight class and arguably won two rounds against the champion.

Here are some further comments from White on the matter,

“Mixed martial arts is a young man’s game. I like Jake Shields a lot, but let’s be honest here: Where was he going in this division of animals we have? He’s on the downswing, and he’s never going to be the guy. His stand-up never improved. He hasn’t really shown anything in his last couple of fights to make you go, ‘Holy s**t.’ Right now, at this point, he’s just another guy.

He compares the Shields situation to Fitch, stating how those who complained about Fitch’s style were the same people who were outraged when he was cut. It takes two to tango, and if you aren’t good enough to stop the grinding style of Fitch or Shields, then Fitch or Shields shouldn’t be the ones to blame.

Tags: Dana White Georges St. Pierre Hector Lombard Jake Shields Jon Fitch

  • Mike C

    There’s nothing wrong with wrestlers, but there’s a huge problem with lay and pray. That’s what Fitch and Shields would do. It’s boring and needs to be eliminated from the sport.

    • Jacob Cooper

      I’m certainly not an advocate of the lay & pray style of fighting, but to be considered a sport it has to accept that some fighters will do whatever they can to win. If Fitch and Shields were able to submit their opponents more, there wouldn’t be such a problem, but it’s the fact they go to decision far too often that seems to be the problem.

  • OBIYOYO

    the Keywords in that whole statement is “his stand up never improved”. dana white and the UFC what stand up specialists for flashy knockouts. any technician in the UFC will find their days numbered, just ask john fitch. wrestlers, grapplers, judo, jujitsu practitioners that can strike to land knocks outs are swept into the undercard. I believe GSP was dealing with BS because most of his wins are decisions even though he’s a master in the game. i’m beyond done watching UFC, they kept a very one dimensional fighter like chic congo around for ever. just because he was a knockout artist, but knew he was never more than a mid card attraction from day one. yet john fitch who’s a flat out stud, and now jake shields… gone because they are grapplers who win hard fights with hard work… UFC is rigged to reward retards that stand and throw bombs… ALL HAIL KIMBO SLICE!!!!!

    • Jacob Cooper

      I disagree about Kongo being a knockout artist, but on the whole your rant is quite reasonable and I agree with parts.

      Re: Kongo, I actually found him quite decision-friendly, just look at his fights with Mitrione, Browne, Cro Cop… The Kongo of old was a good finisher, but he realised that by using the clinch and fighting sensible, he would be able to get victories without taking damage.

      I completely agree with you on the skill it takes to get a fighter to the ground and controlling them for the full fight, even when it is obvious that it’s what the likes of Fitch, Shields etc. are going to do. That’s why I find it so under-appreciated. Why should Fitch or Shields be blamed for being dominant grapplers? Their opponent is doing all they can to get to their feet, yet they are still able to control them for fifteen minutes. Why would Fitch or Shields stand and bang with someone with the stand-up advantage/knockout power of Thiago Alves or Erick Silva for the former, Tyron Woodley or Martin Kampmann. It’s about Fitch and Shields being more intelligent and experienced that is the reason they fight the way they do. Fighters aren’t paid nearly enough to get their head taken off.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, sir.

    • Garrett Erickson

      Amen Obiyoyo! I stopped watching the UFC also. Dana wants a K-1 show and
      the UFC is no longer about finding out who the best fighter in the world
      is regardless of style… Great analogy regarding pitching the perfect game!