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Former welterweight contender Jake Shields has been released from the UFC.
Shields' manager, Lex McMahon, released a statement on behalf of the San Francisco-based former Strikeforce middleweight champion:
"Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Jake is an elite athlete who is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world with a long history of winning at a championship level.
"Jake and our team are already exploring options. I'm confident that Jake will have a new promotion to call home very soon. Jake thanks his fans for their support and looks forward to competing for them again soon."
Shields, 35, was a prized free agent and considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world when he was signed by the UFC in 2010. He received a title shot against Georges St-Pierre in only his second fight with the organization. That April 2011 event, UFC 129 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, shattered the attendance record for an MMA event in North America. Shields lost by unanimous decision.
Shields (29-7-1, 1 NC), went 4-3 with one no contest in his UFC career, losing his last outing by unanimous decision to Hector Lomard at UFC 171 in March. He made his MMA debut in 1999 and also was a former EliteXC welterweight champ.