Organization president Dana White was uncharacteristically forthright when explaining why. He said: “Money has something to do with it … mixed martial arts is a young man’s game … his stand-up never improved … He hasn’t really shown anything in his last couple of fights to make you go, ‘holy (expletive)’.”
This was a fairly easy translation of what can sometimes be White’s slippery verbal sidestepping. He basically said that Shields is too expensive, too old and not flashy enough for the UFC. Apparently, these attributes that were once bonuses for UFC fighters are now must-haves, and those who don’t have them get sent packing.
Speculations are flying as to where Shields will end up. Chances are good that ONE FC or WSOF will be scooping him up quickly with a handsome offer. It is clear that Shields still has plenty of fight left in him, and for viewers who know a thing or two about jiu-jitsu, the man excels at that segment of MMA.
He is compelling to watch for ground game enthusiasts, but apparently a bore for folks who only love a slugfest. As for fans who tune in for a bloody brawl and nothing more, well, they are the UFC’s bread and butter so White basically has to give them what they want, and Shields is not it.
An interesting theory has been put forth by Robin Black of Fight Network. He suggests that after a successful Metamoris 3 event, the submission-only jiu-jitsu league could make a play for Shields and stand to gain a huge bump in viewership. It might be a long shot, but a big MMA star going back to his BJJ roots in submission-only competition might give his loyal fans and Metamoris plenty to rave about.
The fledgling organization’s recent event is currently the talk of the martial arts world. It featured a thrilling match between Eddie Bravo and Royler Gracie that ended in a draw, but not before the Gracie camp got in some bitter last words. It’s a safe bet that Shields will get the last words in on his next move as well … as long as they are not “Hi Dana, it’s me Jake. Can we talk?”