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Mike Jackson confirms UFC release, targets gym rematch with Jake Shields

UFC: OCT 14 UFC Fight Night Vegas 62 Weigh in Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welterweight Mike Jackson on Monday confirmed his release from the UFC with one bout remaining on his contract. The algorithm-based Twitter account UFC Roster Watch first reported the news.

Jackson, 37, told MMA Fighting his release is unrelated to a fight with Jake Shields at the UFC Performance Institute for which he is pressing charges. He said the promotion signaled it would release him after a recent bout fell through. Because of his record, which stands at 1-2 with one no-contest, he said matchmakers struggled to find suitable opponents and instead elected to release him from contract.

“I understand the business side of this,” he said. “But for me, it doesn’t matter. I made way more money not fighting than fighting.”

Now, Jackson said he wants a rematch with Shields under the terms he originally agreed to — a boxing match at a mutually agreed-upon gym. Jackson said he wasn’t able to defend himself properly at the UFC PI because he had just had surgery on his jaw.

“My mindset wasn’t to beat the f*** out of Jake Shields — it was to not get punched in the face,” Jackson said. “So he’s in my DMs, talking a bunch of s***, but then his tune changed, and he was like, ‘Do you want me to come to Houston to box? I’ll come box you.’ I haven’t responded yet, but that’s my new thing. He’s going to come to Houston, or we’re going to find somewhere to meet, and I’ll beat the f*** out of him for the s*** that he did.”

Reached for comment, Shields agreed to fight Jackson but doubted the extracurricular bout would happen.

“I’ll fly to Houston and fight him if I know for sure he will show, but he keeps making excuses,” Shields wrote to MMA Fighting via text. “I contacted his trainer directly to make sure he will be at the gym, and he seems to think he won’t actively fight me.”

Shields, a one-time UFC title challenger, confronted Jackson at the UFC PI after a back-and-forth on social media, and the two wound up in a physical confrontation. Jackson accused Shields of being a white supremacist and Nazi based on the ex-UFC fighter’s social media posts, while Shields accused Jackson of being a racist.

Jackson said Shields initiated the conflict at the UFC PI by spitting on him, while Shields told MMA Fighting that Jackson threw the first punch after turning down an offer to fight in the gym’s cage. In the video, Shields holds Jackson in mount and slaps him as Jackson asks onlookers for help.

Jackson said he’s speaking this week to a detective to initiate a criminal case against Shields.

Jackson made his UFC debut in 2016, facing Mickey Gall in what turned out to be an eliminator for the right to fight former pro-wrestling champ CM Punk. Jackson was submitted by Gall, but wound up fighting Punk in 2018 in a bout panned by UFC President Dana White. After a four-year hiatus, Jackson returned to the octagon in 2022 and defeated Dean Barry via disqualification due to an illegal eye poke.

This past October, Jackson was knocked out in the first round by Pete Rodriguez.

Jackson also called out Pat Miletich for a fight, saying the former UFC champ harassed him online. Miletich told MMA Fighting he would welcome a fight with Jackson, whom he added “doesn’t want this smoke.”

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