The UFC has released former welterweight title contender Jake Shields after an eight-fight stint with the promotion that began in October 2010.
News of the fighter's release broke early Monday morning via MMAfighting.com's Ariel Helwani.
BREAKING: UFC releases Jake Shields -- http://t.co/OYwRDjfcS2— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 7, 2014
During Shields' time in the UFC, he challenged for the 170-pound championship, losing via unanimous decision to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129. While Shields was relatively ineffective in that fight, he became the first man to win a round against the champ since Josh Koscheck stole a single frame at UFC 74 some four years earlier in 2007.
This, unfortunately, is arguably Shields' greatest achievement during his UFC stint, and now he finds himself testing the open market for a potential employer in the wake of his release.
Shields' latest loss to Hector Lombard at UFC 171 was an absolute drubbing, and the former title challenger was thoroughly outclassed in all facets of the game.
Let's be honest here, though. This loss is not why Shields was released Monday morning.
But he doesn't finish fights.
He doesn't hype fights well.
The UFC has shown that they do not care to keep fighters like this around longer than they need to, and Shields currently suffers from this fact.
The debate on whether the UFC is justified in doing so or not will never be settled, unfortunately.
From a business standpoint, the release makes perfect sense. They're saving money, and they're dropping a fighter that doesn't move the needle particularly well for the company.
Is it ethical? Is it fair?
It simply depends on how you feel about the situation.
Is Jake Shields' UFC release fair?
Personally, I will not cry myself to sleep knowing that Jake Shields' days inside the UFC Octagon have come to an end.
But the man was 3-1 (1) in his last five fights, and that no-contest was realistically a decision victory over Ed Herman at UFC 150 until Shields failed his post-fight drug test.
It's strange seeing skilled veterans get tossed aside, but that's just the nature of the beast.
Where would you like to see Shields finish his MMA career? Bellator? World Series of Fighting?
Wherever he ends up, he will almost certainly become a contender in short order, so not all is lost for the 35-year-old Cesar Gracie product.