Jake Shields, Strikeforce’s middleweight champion (following his drubbing of Dan Henderson), has been in a “matching period” for some time now – meaning that, had the UFC made an offer to him, Coker and company would have had the right to match said offer and maintain Jake’s services. It appears, via Sherdog, that SF, with weeks left in the matching period, isn’t interested in saying “we would, but we can’t” at some point in the not-too-distant future:
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed to Sherdog.com that the promotion informed Jack Shields, the fighter’s manager and father, of the release on Wednesday. Coker would not comment further on the decision.
“In the conversation we had today, they said they felt that Jake was leaning towards the UFC. Honestly, we were talking to them with an open mind, though Jake wants to fight the best,” said the elder Shields. “Between Strikeforce and EliteXC, Jake had the chance to fight on Showtime and CBS four or five times against some top fighters like Dan Henderson and Robbie Lawler. Strikeforce gave him great opportunities and exposure. They’ve been nothing but great for Jake.”
Emphasis added – because as we’ve all been allowing to sink in for a few days now, there’s only one place in MMA to fight the best.