UFC president Dana White simply can’t win – that is, if you were to ask Dana White.
Fans complain all the livelong day because fighters like former welterweight top contender Jake Shields (pictured) execute aesthetically unappealing grappling-intensive game plans that bore them to tears, yet scream to the high heavens when the UFC decides to let such athletes go (Please see: Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami).
That’s exactly what happened again Monday after news broke that the UFC cut Shields, despite the fact the 35-year-old had lost just one scrap in his previous five UFC outings.
White said Shields’ advanced age, plateaued skills and inability to separate himself from his peers all played a factor in his release.
“Mixed martial arts is a young man’s game,” White told Yahoo! Sports. “I like Jake Shields a lot. But let’s be honest here: Where was he going in this [welterweight] 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 [expletive].’ Right now, at this point, he’s just another guy.
“All of the people who had been [expletive] and moaning to me about Jon Fitch when he was fighting for us and were complaining that he was so boring, they all got outraged when we cut him. And it’s like the same thing now with Jake. Well, the media didn’t even think he was good enough to be in the Top 10.”
Oh, yeah. White said the former Strikeforce middleweight champion was set to score $120,000 for the next fight on UFC contract, so that certainly didn’t help Sheilds’ cause.
“We look at everything,” White added. “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.”
Shields owns a 29-7-1 (1 NC) overall professional record. Given his resume and name in the game, there will be suitors for his services.