To the surprise of few, Strikeforce middleweight king Jake Shields will no longer be competing for the San Jose, CA based organization. However, it wasn’t known until Wednesday night how the free agency frenzy would conclude.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed with Sherdog.com the company has waived the final 2-3 week exclusive matching period they were allotted and have opted to release the controversial wrestler outright.
Although Coker would not elaborate on their newly vacant 185-pound throne, it’s rumored the company has already been working on a middleweight grand prix tournament to fill the vacancy.
Jack Shields, the fighter’s manager and father, told the website Strikeforce wasn’t stoked over their extended flirtation with the Octagon.
“In the conversation we had today, [Strikeforce] said they felt that Jake was leaning towards the UFC. Honestly, we were talking to them with an open mind, though Jake wants to fight the best,” said Poppa Shields. “Between Strikeforce and EliteXC, Jake had the chance to fight on Showtime and CBS four or five times against some top fighters like Dan Henderson and Robbie Lawler.
“Strikeforce gave him great opportunities and exposure. They’ve been nothing but great for Jake.”
Shields technically hit the open market after dominating Henderson in April at “Strikeforce: Nashville.” He’s been shopping his services across the globe, however the UFC served as the clear front-runner because they house the planet’s top dogs.
The 31-year-old holds a 25-4-1 pro mark and has rolled off 14 straight wins.