||10-09-2013 04:46 PM
Sonnen on importance of promotion/why to never say 'I'll fight whoever the UFC wants'
From MMAFighting.com (By Shaun Al-Shatti @shaunalshatti
on Oct 5 2013, 1:00p):
In light of the UFC's recent release of Yushin Okami, the narrative for next week's UFC Fight Night 29 event becomes a little strange. Prior to 2013, it'd be easy to assume Jake Shield's job security was anything but in danger. After all, he's fighting in the main event, he's a former Strikeforce champion, and he's won his last three UFC fights (one of which was later overturned into a no-contest).
But following the abrupt cutting of Okami, and Jon Fitch before him, it's difficult not to draw parallels between the situations. All three men are former title challengers who fell short and now serve only to derail burgeoning contenders with their own grinding style. All three are in their mid-to-late thirties, none of the them could be considered fan favorites, and at least Okami and Fitch had the benefit of being ranked within the UFC's own top-10 at the time of their release.
This is not, at all, to imply that Shields will lose his job if he falls short against Demian Maia on Wednesday. That's obviously not a decision I'm privy to, nor do I pretend to claim otherwise. But rather, the very notion that Shields' release now seems like a plausible outcome, even in the slightest bit, has to hold some significance.
Earlier this week I spoke to Chael Sonnen, himself a former grinder who over the course