Yesterday the news broke that Jake Shields' father and manager Jack Shields had passed away. He had been Jake's mentor and coach since he took up wrestling as a child. While many describe a relationship with their parents as close, Jack was honestly Jake's best friend. The passing of his father left many expecting the former Strikeforce middleweight champion to pull out of his upcoming fight with Jake Ellenberger at Ultimate Fight Night 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Instead, it seems that Jake is going to work through his grief by headlining the Battle of the Bayou. Speaking from first hand experience, it is extremely necessary to find an outlet to take the mind off of the loss of a family member, so I commend and can relate to Jake's decision. He has a good team around him that from all accounts act like a second family. There is no doubt that the Scrap Pack has been helping Jake deal with the loss of his father.
This news was confirmed by the folks at MMA Fighting, who reached out to the UFC to find out if Shields was withdrawing from his fight. The cause of death still hasn't been confirmed but Jack Shields had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure shortly after Jake's upset win over Dan Henderson. For more on the death of Jack Shields, check Dallas Winston's post from yesterday.