Newly crowned WSOF Champ Jon Fitch was supposed to face Jake Shields on Saturday for the vacant Welterweight Title, but a contract dispute led Shields to drop out of the fight. Fitch instead defeated Joao Zeferino, but WSOF President Ray Sefo said after the event Shields is expected to be next in line.
“Obviously we’ve got to sit down,” Sefo said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. “I had a really good talk with Shields a while back, four or five weeks ago now. Shields is, to me, the No. 1 contender right now. That’s the fight that makes most sense. It’s a fight that’s been brewing for a long time, but it’s never happened.
“I’m looking forward to it happening. When? I’m not sure exactly. We’ve got to sit down with Fitch and see where he’s at now – the fight just got done. But in terms of who’s next, Jake Shields is next for sure.”
The hangup for Shields is that he’s on the last fight of his contract, and rather than get stuck on those terms under a champion’s clause, he wanted to renegotiate a new deal in advance of a title fight. WSOF officials weren’t willing to do that at the time, and still may not be based on a later comment from Sefo.
“Maybe that’s a discussion that he and I have got to have again, to see where he’s at and if he wants that title fight,” Sefo said. “If not, I’ve got three other guys already in the mix.”
Penick’s Analysis: Shields was absolutely in the right, and if they’re not going to renegotiate new terms with him, they need to let him fight out his deal in a different fight or simply let him go. They can’t just hold him up on the sidelines because he wants to renegotiate terms for a title fight. It’s the clear best fight for the WSOF to make in that division right now, but if Shields doesn’t want to be stuck on his current monetary terms past the currently final contracted fight, then he doesn’t need to fight for that title.
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