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Coker says no bidding war for Jake Shields, tourney possible

dcapps9532010-06-10 16:20:25 +0000 #1
mmajunkie.com/news/1...tourney-possible.mma

Quote:

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is "tossing around numbers" with the manager of his current middleweight champion, Jake Shields, but he will not get into a bidding war for the fighter's services.

"To me, there's going to be a value that we feel is fair, and that's going to be it," Coker today told MMAjunkie.com ( www.mmajunkie.com: www.mmajunkie.com ). "I don't think it's good business to go into [the bidding] business."

If the two sides can't strike a deal on a new contract, Coker said the promotion likely will hold an eight-man tournament that could begin at a planned Aug. 21 event in Houston. The winner would be crowned the new champion.

"If it works out (with Shields), great," Coker said. "If not, Strikeforce has a bunch of great middleweights, and we'll go into the tournament business. We're still fleshing out the details, but we're leaning toward that."

Shields' manager and father, Jack Shields, today opened the door to non-exclusive negotiations – known as the "matching period" on a fight contract – after the fighter's exclusive negotiation period with Strikeforce expired earlier this week.

Jake Shields (25-4-1 MMA, 3-0 SF) fulfilled his Strikeforce obligations in April at "Strikeforce: Nashville," where he defended his middleweight belt with a win over UFC vet Dan Henderson. However, Shields technically is not a free agent until the matching period expires, and the time of that clause currently is unknown.

For now, Strikeforce has the option to match offers from other companies.

"Jake's a great fighter, and I consider him a friend," Coker said. "It's something that we're working on, but we have a lot of great middleweights on our roster, and we look forward to the future to see what happens."

Of course, fans have buzzed nonstop about Shields potentially moving to the UFC. Although Shields recently has competed at middleweight, he hasn't ruled out a return to welterweight, where the UFC has a stronghold on the world's top talent.

While Shields previously has taken Strikeforce to task for its minimal promotional push behind him, the fighter repeatedly has said he isn't necessarily unhappy within its ranks. He has, however, stated that he wants to test the waters of free agency and fight the sport's best.

All too happy to aid him in that quest is UFC president Dana White, whose ill will toward the San Jose, Calif.-based Strikeforce has been displayed by his recent claim to Shields.

"I don't think it's rocket science," White said this past weekend after UFC 114. "Everybody knows he doesn't want to be there anymore. They suck, we don't, and he's coming here."

Showtime executive Ken Hershman – whom White refuses publicly to acknowledge – has a lot of respect for Shields. He's seen a lot of the fighter over the years – first with EliteXC and then with Strikeforce – as he's risen from a top mixed-martial-artist prospect to a champion.

But if Strikeforce can't come to terms with Shields, Hershman is OK with a change.

"If things don't work out, we wish Jake and his team the best," Hershman, the executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, told MMAjunkie.com on Thursday.

The Showtime executive agrees with Coker that a potential new deal has to make good business sense if Shields is to continue with Strikeforce. While he clearly would like the champion to fight on Showtime, he believes the promotion can survive if Shields moves on.

"I think Jake is a great champion and great proponent of mixed martial arts, and if he and Strikeforce can come to terms that make sense for everybody, then I'd be happy to see him back fighting on Showtime," Hershman said. "But there is no single fighter that makes or breaks any division in Strikeforce."

Coker said he is targeting Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (7-0 MMA, 2-0 SF) for the Aug. 21 event in Houston, and he's targeted Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (12-2 MMA, 2-0 SF) for the possible middleweight tournament. No venue is set for the event, which was first reported by MMAFighting.com.


BruceLee2010-06-10 16:33:03 +0000 #2
So basically Jake Shields is gonna have to fight for peanuts for the UFC. Kind of a win win for the UFC and Strikeforce. Strikeforce gets rid of a boring ratings killer and the UFC gets a guy who can face GSP.

Once GSP destorys Jake Shields, Shields is in trouble though.
dcapps9532010-06-10 16:35:52 +0000 #3
I agree with Coker. Dana has openly said that he wants Shields! Shields was a little pissed about the promotion of the Hendo fight too. The handwrititing is on the wall! He doesn't have any chance of signing Shields. Also even though Dana acts like a douche, Coker really tries to be courteous with the UFC. Some of the other orgs were more antogonistic with the UFC and they are no longer around!

Also Shields isn't the type of draw where it would make sense to to get into a bidding war with. It sucks to lose a champ, but the 8 man tourney could be real good. Strikeforce has some pretty good names at MW IMO.
dcapps9532010-06-10 17:21:35 +0000 #4
Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceLee

So basically Jake Shields is gonna have to fight for peanuts for the UFC. Kind of a win win for the UFC and Strikeforce. Strikeforce gets rid of a boring ratings killer and the UFC gets a guy who can face GSP.

Once GSP destorys Jake Shields, Shields is in trouble though.

No...Fitch and Koshcheck keep getting chances with not the most exciting fights.
dcapps9532010-06-10 16:59:44 +0000 #5
The 8 man tourney if that goes down could be fun.

Jacare

Hendo

Cung

Mayhem

Lawler

Lindland

Kennedy

Prangley

Smith

Raddach

Villensenor

Rockhold

Manhoef

even Shamrock

That of course is way more than 8. They may want 10 so they could have a reserve bout.
BruceLee2010-06-10 17:37:31 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by dcapps953

I agree with Coker. Dana has openly said that he wants Shields! Shields was a little pissed about the promotion of the Hendo fight too. The handwrititing is on the wall! He doesn't have any chance of signing Shields. Also even though Dana acts like a douche, Coker really tries to be courteous with the UFC. Some of the other orgs were more antogonistic with the UFC and they are no longer around!

Also Shields isn't the type of draw where it would make sense to to get into a bidding war with. It sucks to lose a champ, but the 8 man tourney could be real good. Strikeforce has some pretty good names at MW IMO.

Really it's a shaft move by Coker from Shields point of view. Dana's done it in the past too. (can't remember who it was with. oh it was with Henderson I think)

It's basically saying we're not going to bid on you Shields. That puts it in Dana/UFC's ballpark since Shields has nowhere else to go. It takes away all the negotiating leverage that Shields has with the UFC.

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