From winning the Strikeforce middleweight belt, to fighting for the UFC’s stacked welterweight division, Shields has bounced around quite about before landing at World Series of Fighting, where he currently calls home.
Shields spoke exclusively to BJPENN.com Radio on Wednesday about why more and more fighters have been leaving the UFC lately, much like Shields himself did in 2014, and why fans should expect more fighters to follow into WSOF and Bellator:
“GSP’S ARGUING WITH THEM NOW, NATE WAS ARGUING WITH THE UFC BEFORE. THERE’S CONSTANTLY BIG NAME GUYS (IN CONTRACT DISPUTES) WITH THEM. THAT’S WHY BELLATOR AND WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING ARE DOING REALLY WELL. THERE’S JUST MORE OPTIONS OUT THERE. IT’S BETTER THAN HAVING JUST ONE PROMOTION; WHEN THERE ARE A COUPLE OF SHOWS DOING WELL, IT’S GOOD FOR EVERYBODY.”
World Series of Fighting is run by president and former combat sports specialist Ray Sefo, who competed in MMA and kickboxing before retiring and taking on executive duties at WSOF.
“HAVING A FORMER FIGHTER AS A PRESIDENT (OF AN MMA PROMOTION) IS GREAT. IT’S STILL BUSINESS SO THERE WILL BE DISAGREEMENTS, BUT OVERALL WSOF TREATS THE FIGHTERS WELL.”
Shields departure from the UFC last year was followed by a number of other high-profile, big name fighters who opted not to re-sign with the worlds largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Former welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald left the UFC to sign a contract with Bellator in August.
MacDonald is joined by former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, and Chael Sonnen, all of whom signed with Bellator after fighting out their contracts with the UFC.
Shields takes on fellow former UFC welterweight Jon Fitch on December 31 for WSOF’s inaugural card in New York City at the historical Madison Square Garden.
Do you agree with Jake Shields in that more and more fighters who are voicing their displeasure with the UFC will jump ship as well? And do you think that would be beneficial to mixed martial arts overall? Sound off in the comments section, PENN Nation!