We were kinda sitting around waiting to hear if Jake Shields would stick to his guns and hold out for the UFC or end up in Strikeforce like everyone else seems to be. Jake has the interesting curse of being so good his promotions can’t find challenging fights for him. Maybe he’s up there with GSP, maybe it’s not. It’s kinda hard to tell when the best opposition he’s faced recently is Mike Pyle and Paul Daley.
Now it looks like he’s decided to go with Strikeforce, and his first opponent is a glaring example of why that’s a problem: the best they could swing was Joe Riggs.
Strikeforce’s first event in its new Showtime contract just picked up another big name. MMA Weekly has confirmed a report by AroundtheOctagon.com that said former EliteXC welterweight champ Jake Shields will be facing UFC/Strikeforce vet Joe Riggs at the April 11th card in San Jose. No, Riggs isn’t the kind of top ten opponent that Shields would ideally be fighting, but at least he’s competing again â€” which is pretty much how Shields and his father/manager Jack are viewing the situation. As the elder Shields told MMA Weekly:
“Originally, EliteXC had been up in the air for so long, we had gotten a lawyer and were prepared to file suit to get a release. Then we went to Strikeforce, and we know Scott Coker. We’ve always had good relations with him. It was a much smarter thing to do than getting involved with anything legal. It just seemed the right thing to do to go ahead and finish the contract. It’s a lot better than waiting around.”
At the very least it sounds like Shields is still looking to get out of his ProElite contract for the UFC … he’s just decided to do it via the path of least resistance … aka through Strikeforce’s welterweight division rather than legal department.