Morning Report: Dana White explains the reasoning behind cutting Jake Shields

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Taking some flak following the release of former No. 1 welterweight contender Jake Shields, UFC president Dana White is trying to illuminate fans on the decision. Speaking with Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole, White says money was just one factor in parting ways with Shields.

"We look at everything," White said. "Everything. Money has something to do with it. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But that wasn't the only reason or the main reason. It was a part of the piece of the puzzle as we were doing our evaluation of him."

According to Iole, White explained that Shields was due to make $120,000 in his next bout, but prior to his UFC 171 loss to Hector Lombard, Shields claimed to believe the fight was the last of his contract. Shields reiterated the point Mar. 4 telling the guys at MMA Junkie Radio: 'I can't go out and lose to Hector and ask for more money, so I've got to take it one step at a time. I've got a beast standing in front of me next week.' Although the Texas Athletic Commission doesn't officially release fighter pay info Shields' base pay for the event was reported to be approximately $75,000.

"Mixed martial arts is a young man's game," White said. "I like Jake Shields a lot. But let's be honest here: Where was he going in this [welterweight] division of animals we have? He's on the downswing, and he's never going to be the guy. His stand-up never improved. He hasn't really shown anything in his last couple of fights to make you go, 'Holy [expletive].' Right now, at this point, he's just another guy.

"All of the people who had been [expletive] and moaning to me about Jon Fitch when he was fighting for us and were complaining that he was so boring, they all got outraged when we cut him. And it's like the same thing now with Jake. Well, the media didn't even think he was good enough to be in the Top 10."

Appearing as a guest on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, Shields' manager Lex McMahon sounded blind-sided by the news.

"To lose one fight and then all of a sudden be out of a job was something that I believe was surprising and not contemplated," McMahon admitted. "To be honest, we were really positioned and looking for Jake as a potential title contender, given the mix of the landscape after Georges (St-Pierre) retired. Jake had beaten pretty much everybody that was out there. He beat Condit, he beat Woodley, he beat Maia. So really, there wasn't too many other options. With the right performance, I think (he could've been fighting for the title)."

As of Monday night Shields was still slotted as the No. 11 welterweight in the promotion's rankings, but that's sure to change.

"We have 500 guys under contract, which is a lot more than we really need, and after each show, we really, really need to take a close look at what we do with guys," White said.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Fun for Newell or Gaethje. Longtime UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard has signed with World Series of Fighting and is expected to make his promotional debut this summer.

Shake up. Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen and Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic each have new dates.

Decisions. Holly Holm is contemplating her future while weighing whether or not to surgically repair her broken arm.

Full coverage. The UFC is covering the cost to have Georges St-Pierre's second ACL tear repaired.

Doping. Dennis Siver admits to using hCG drops prior to UFC 168.

It's Tuesday so make sure to check out The MMA Hour featuring The Fight Network's John Pollock, Akira Corassani, Holly Holm and her manager Lenny Fresquez, Tim Kennedy, Andre Fili, John Hackleman, Jake Shields' manager Lex McMahon and Tyrone Spong.

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MEDIA STEW

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Dana White says getting a tweet from Muhammed Ali made his life.

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Jon Jones on GSP, Rory and Glover.

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Highlights from Bellator 115.

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A very upset Shayna Baszler talks about being forced out of her fight with Sarah Kaufman.

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Ramsey Nijem training with Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez ahead of his fight with Beneil Dariush.

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Godzilla meets 10th Planet.

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Long watches.

Watson connection between fighter, promoter (30 minute Burt Watson interview)

Co-Main Event Podcast Episode 98 (4/7/14)

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TWEETS

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Get well soon.

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Who had to come up with Bruce's stats? #100everything

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Congrats.

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Nice.

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Not nice.

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Wanted more from this pic.

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Sorry.

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A bounty!?

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Apr. 8 2014)

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Sam Oropeza at Bellator 118

Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren at Bellator 118

Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night: New Zealand

Bryan Caraway vs. Erik Perez at UFC Fight Night: Albuquerque

Rony Jason vs. Robbie Peralta at UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Miocic

Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic moved from UFC 173 to UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Miocic

Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen moved to UFC 175

cancelled Mark Bocek vs. Evan Dunham at TUF Nations Finale

Colton Smith vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens

cancelled Caio Magalhaes vs. Josh Samman at UFC on FOX 11

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Tyler212.

Bellator 116 main card breakdown!

Lavar Johnson vs Blagoi Ivanov headline Bellator 116 this Friday in Temecula, California. Johnson and Blagoi will be fighting for a spot in the Heavyweight tournament finals. Siala-mou Siliga and Alexander Volkov will also be trying to punch their ticket to the Heaveyweight finals. The other fights on the main card include the Welterweight tournament semifinal, between Nathan Coy vs Adam McDonough, and a Light Heavyweight feature fight between Joey Beltran and Vladimir Matyushenko.

Beltran vs Matyushenko:

Beltran was last seen getting knocked out by Rampage Jackson, while Matyushenko won a tedious decision over Houston Alexander. Beltran was badly overmatched against Rampage but against Matyushenko, this shouldn't be the case. Matyushenko looked very tired and very OLD in his last fight. I don't think he will last against Beltran and his aggressiveness.

Result: Beltran wins via 2nd rnd tko

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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