Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker: Jake Shields is a Free Agent*

Written by Tom Ngo
April 9th, 2010

During today’s “Strikeforce: Nashville” conference call, company CEO Scott Coker shed some light on his middleweight champion’s impending free agency.

While Jake Shields told 5thRound.com last month he was anxious to test the open market the very second his title fight against Dan Henderson was complete, Coker said the fine print in his original deal affords the company the luxury of a temporary extension.

“We have the ability to exercise one other fight, and we’re going to wait to see what happens with this fight,” Coker stated.

When probed as to why the organization wouldn’t want to secure the talented 31-year-old’s services before the April 17th event, particularly when UFC president Dana White has publicly been recruiting him, the soft-spoken promoter kept negotiations close to his vest.

“I can’t get into too many details with contracts, but I think that if we do want to exercise it we’ll exercise it relatively quickly, and there’s some other provisions in there that we’ll have a negotiation period with Jake,” Coker said. “Jake has been a great fighter for Strikeforce. He’s been a great fighter for a long time. He lives in the Bay Area, so I’ve followed his career.

“We’re going to be watching very closely [at “Strikeforce: Nashville”].”

On Wednesday, Shields told MMAWeekly.com that he was the one that decided not to push for a long-term deal before meeting Henderson because he wanted to test the free agent market.

“I took the risk. I had the option of course to renegotiate my contract before the fight, and I just felt like it wasn’t really that I wanted to leave Strikeforce. I felt like I wanted to be a free agent and take things from there,” Shields told the website.

Shields owns a 24-4-1 professional record and will be riding a 13-fight winning streak into the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

In addition to his slick Brazilian jiu jitsu game and much-improved standup, Shields can also legitimately challenge for the crown at two different weight classes, driving up his market value even further.

Shields has long professed his desires to compete against the world’s best, and if that is indeed the case, the Octagon houses the planet’s top dogs in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

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