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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After a little over three years, Jake Shields' UFC run has come to an end.

The former welterweight contender has been released by the promotion, his manager Lex McMahon of Alchemist Management confirmed with MMAFighting.com.

McMahon released the following statement to MMAFighting.com Monday morning:

"Jake Shields has been released by the UFC. Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita. 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 (29-7-1, 1 NC) most recently lost a unanimous decision to Hector Lombard at UFC 171 last month. The loss snapped a four-fight unbeaten streak for the 35-year-old. He made his Octagon debut at UFC 121 in Oct. 2010, defeating Martin Kampmann via split decision. His next fight was against Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 129 in what is still the highest-grossing event in the organization's history. Over 55,000 people attended the event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and the gate was over $12 million. Both remain records.

Shields, who made his MMA debut in 1999, is a former EliteXC welterweight champion and Strikeforce middleweight champion. Arguably his highest-profile win came when he defeated Dan Henderson on CBS. He signed with the UFC following that win and went 4-3 with 1 no contest inside the Octagon. His no contest came after he failed a post-fight drug test for an undisclosed reason following his UFC 150 win over Ed Herman in Aug. 2012.