According to Josh Gross' latest column for SportsIllustrated.com, Strikeforce 185-pound champ Jake Shields' manager and father, Jack Shields says that the promotion has yet to bother to contact them to attempt to negotiate a new contract.
"The time is ticking. We'd like to move forward as soon as possible,"the elder Shields told Gross on Monday. "I'd like to be negotiating right now."
Strikeforce reps blamed their busy event schedule for the delay, but a source told Gross that they have actually considered releasing Shields before an exclusive negotiating period that expires in three weeks. Even after that period ends, the promotion still has the right to match any offer made by any other promotion, but the fact that they are pretending Shields doesn't exist and discussing life after he leaves the organization essentially all but says they are conceding he will not be back.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker seemed irritated by Gross' inquiry about the possibility that they may release the talented welterweight who has spent the last year moonlighting as a middleweight so he could ensure he had challenging fights.
"Can I guarantee that we won't release him? No, I can't. It depends on how the last two or three weeks of negotiation go. I won't be able to answer until negotiations are over. Is it a possibility? It's a possibility. If we're not going to be in the Jake Shields business, let's just move on," Coker said. "That's how I feel. This is a business. Jake has a career and a life and it's not fair to him. But Jake is a guy we've appreciated having him as part of the family."Link