Current Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields has now fulfilled his contractual obligations with Strikeforce and met with UFC President Dana White last night at UFC 115.
“[Shields] was here,” White told MMAjunkie.com. “I talked to him. We’re in negotiations with him right now.”
Shields’ exclusive contract negotiation period with Strikeforce ended recently, and he can now talk with other promotions. Strikeforce still has the option to match any contract offer, however White has been adamant that Shields would sign with the UFC, and remains that way.
“We haven’t signed [Shields] yet,” White said. “Trust me, I’ll let you guys know when we sign him – the second we do.”
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently said that he is willing to do what he can to keep his champ, but he’s only willing to open up his pocketbook so much and he’s ready to move on if he has to.
“To me, there’s going to be a value that we feel is fair, and that’s going to be it,” Coker recently stated to MMAJunkie.com.
Clearly Strikeforce doesn’t have the resources to compete with any large contract the UFC may offer, so in the event that Shields leaves, Coker has a backup plan in mind.
“Strikeforce has a bunch of great middleweights, and we’ll go into the tournament business. We’re still fleshing out the details, but we’re leaning towards that,” he explained.
Now, it’s a waiting game to see when and where Strikeforce’s middleweight champion will sign, but all roads seem to point to the Octagon.
Thanks to Tim Ngo for contributing to this article.