The decision, it turns out, was a no-brainer. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to even call it a decision.
“The plan was always to stay with EliteXC,’’ said Jake Shields, who has re-signed with Los Angeles-based ProElite’s Live Fight Division. “For some reason, reporters were running like crazy with the notion that I was going to leave and sign with some other organization. I talked with other groups, but, in the end, I decided the best thing for me and my career was to stay put. I have been happy with EliteXC from the beginning. They have been like family to me.’’
Gary Shaw, EliteXC Live Event President, made the announcement Friday night on the eve of an EliteXC cage fight card here. In one of Saturday’s top bouts at the American Bank Center Arena on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast), Shields will take on Mike Pyle.
“Jake is, flat-out, No. 1 in the world in his weight class and we are thrilled that he has re-signed with us,’’ Shaw said. “He has been part of the EliteXC family from the beginning. Jake and his dad, Jack, are class acts and a joy to not only work with but to be around.”
“Jake wants to fight the best and we are going to get him the best. We welcome any and all challenges from the other organizations. If you think you have the best welterweight in the world, then prove it by fighting Jake.’’
Terms and length of the deal were not disclosed.
Said Jack Shields, Jake’s father and manager: “We are really happy to be staying with EliteXC. This (offer) is what we were looking for. EliteXC has treated us very well. They have promoted Jake and they have been true to their word, even when it came to the little things.
“Both Jake and I are confident this organization is going places. You look at the acquisitions they’ve made, the fighters they are getting and you know they are serious about becoming a major player. Actually, they already are a major player and we are very happy to be associated with them.’’
Shields, of San Francisco , is 19-4-1. Undefeated since 2004, the Cesar Gracie protégé’s eight-fight winning streak is one of the longest currently in MMA.
Among those the classy Shields has defeated during his impressive run of victories include middleweight contender Yushin Okami, former UFC champion Dave Menne and current WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Shields defeated Renato “Charuto’’ Verissimo on a first-round TKO at EliteXC’s Sept. 15 “Uprising” in September on Showtime.