One of the bad signs wafting off Strikeforce: Nashville like stink lines off a cartoon character leading up to the event was the lack of hype-building storylines. In fact, the only stories that seemed to get much traction were negative, like the fact that middleweight champ Jake Shields was ready to leave the company to play the free agent game after his fight with Dan Henderson.
Scott Coker did his whole “Reassuring, but not really reassuring” thing and said that Strikeforce has ‘the ability to exercise one other fight’ with Shields, whatever that means. MMA Junkie’s article on the topic of Shield’s free agency doesn’t shed much more light on the situation, simply saying Strikeforce could ‘exercise a one-fight option’. MMA Payout claims Shields has one more fight on his contract but that the contract is expiring in a few months (aka before Strikeforce can squeeze said fight out of him). But then again, MMA Payout has been a bit weak since they switched editors a while ago so I wouldn’t take that as gospel without further confirmation.
Whatever the case, you know Dana White is waiting in the wings to either snap Jake Shields up or drive his price through the roof to gouge Strikeforce as much as possible. Strikeforce is in an interesting position themselves, since while Shields is one of their champs and one of the few true top MMA fighters on their roster, he’s also a guy who’s poisoned CBS ratings in his last two fights. He’s also the least favorite fighter I’ve ever seen, as far as crowds are concerned – the only guy I’ve ever heard get booed louder and longer at a live event is Kalib Starnes, and I’d say Jake is even with him now because he got that treatment in both Chicago and Nashville.
*Update* MMA Payout wuz right: Kevin Iole confirms Jake “has two more months on his Strikeforce contract, but is not bound to the company beyond that.”