Jake Shields made his triumphant return to 185 pounds on Saturday night, giving Ed Herman a fierce laying on and earning the ire of the 15,000 Coloradans brave enough to come out in the face of fierce forest fires and mass killings. Strangely enough, they did not shower Jake with love. Crazier still, they actually booed him from the end of the fight til the end of his interview with Joe Rogan.
Who knows why they would be so ignorant as to boo one of the top fighters in the sport, but let me tell you it’s not an isolated incident. I had the amazing luck to attend two live events featuring Jake Shields over the years and they’ve both ended in similar ways. The first was Jake’s fight with Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller for the vacant middleweight title at Strikeforce: Fedor vs Wife Beater. After a few close rounds, Shields locked down top control and sat on Mayhem for the last three rounds. The crowds booed, ratings cratered, and the era of Shields as a submission machine came to an end. He had a new deadly weapon: the blanket.
That next spring, I attended Strikeforce: Nashville where Jake was taking on Dan Henderson. Let me tell you what: the mouthbreathers in Tennessee did not enjoy Jake’s amazing ability to drag Hendo down and perch on top of him for 25 minutes. By the time he throw a half decent punch – the post-fight brawl involving Mayhem – the majority of the arena had already left, but not before showering him with the kind of boos normally reserved for the Iron Sheik after he hits Hulk Hogan with a steel chair and disrespects the American flag.
Many were wondering how Jake Shields would fare coming into the UFC, but it now looks like he’s sorted out any kinks in his training and is back to the same kind of exciting wins he was known for in Strikeforce.