Shields joins Strikeforce
Jake Shields has agreed to join Strikeforce and fight Joe Riggs on April 11
Shields is the top-ranked welterweight fighter competing outside the UFC
A win could put Shields (22-4-1) in position for a main event bout on CBS
Jake Shields, the top-ranked welterweight competing outside the UFC, has agreed to join Strikeforce and fight Joe Riggs on April 11, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed to SI.com Tuesday evening.
Shields will honor the two remaining fights on his current deal rather than challenge ProElite Inc.'s limited asset sale to Strikeforce, which saw 42 fighter contracts move to the San Jose, Calif.-based promoter.
Shields's return against Riggs (29-10, 1 NC), initially reported Tuesday by aroundtheoctagon.com, comes on the first Showtime-produced MMA broadcast in five months. A win could put Shields (22-4-1, ranked No. 5 by SI.com) in position for a main event bout on CBS, potentially against a ranked middleweight, a source close to Shields said.
Last week Coker told SI.com he was unsure whether Shields would be among the fighters transferred to Strikeforce. Shields said he hoped for a renegotiation of his contract, or an outright release. In the end, both sides negotiated the easiest path for Shields, EliteXC's welterweight champion before the company hit financial troubles last October, to get back to fighting.