Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields was cut from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) because he was "just another guy" on a mixed martial arts (MMA) career "downswing," according to comments made by UFC President Dana White.
And that's why he was released following a lopsided unanimous decision loss to Hector Lombard at UFC 171 (details).
Shields (29-7) broke his silence over the weekend in a conversation with MMA Fighting, where he expressed his surprise at the hasty decision, considering he's 4-1 over his last five and holds wins over Dan Henderson, Carlos Condit, Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, and Demian Maia, just to name a few.
"I didn't read what Dana said, but ‘another guy?' So are [a lot of other fighters] I guess, considering I beat at least half the guys in the top-10. That's a little bit ridiculous. But I guess you have to justify it somehow. My last two fights have been really close and I haven't finished, so I figure maybe they're just doing that... I feel like the sport, they're trying to pull it away from being the best in the sport, and just putting it into, oh, you gotta go and slug it out and fight the way they want you to, which is kind of ridiculous. You wouldn't have guys like Floyd Mayweather being the best in the world if [boxing executives] pressured him like that. But it's where [the sport] is right now. You just have to deal with it. It's a rough industry. You never know what the next day is going to bring. One loss and all of a sudden you're out of the whole show. From being lined up to get a title shot, to being out of the show, you never know where you're going to end up. It's definitely a little frustrating, but I just have to not let it get to me and just keep going out there and winning fights and doing what I do."
Is UFC playing favorites, or promoting a stand-and-bang style?
It could be a little bit of both. Fellow welterweight Dan Hardy once lost four straight and was finished twice, but got to keep his job because Lorenzo Fertitta is a fan of guys who WAR! Similarly, Frank Mir has dropped four in a row and hasn't looked competitive in ages, but still has a spot on the roster.
Shields will try to re-invent himself (again) as a top contender in World Series of Fighting (WSOF), where he can now test himself against fellow ground fighters like Jon Fitch and Rousimar Palhares, among others. And if he manages to win a bunch of fights, then maybe White will reconsider his position.