Cesar Gracie: “Jake’s Going to Fight”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following the news Tuesday that Jake Shields has suffered the loss of his father and manager Jack Shields, speculation has continued as to whether the welterweight would still fight Jake Ellenberger as scheduled September17th. Shields’s long time trainer and coach Cesar Gracie has informed FCF today, however, that the UFC Fight Night main event is going ahead as planned.
“Yeah, Jake’s going to fight,” Gracie reported. “I don’t know exactly what Jake’s mentality was, but when I spoke to him he said this is what he does. He’s a fighter and he fights…His dad raised Jake to be a competitor and a fighter, and we’re very secure in the knowledge that this is exactly what Jack would have wanted him to do.”
Jack Shields, who played an active role in Jake Shields’s fighting career, reportedly passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 67.
“This is a main event,” Gracie added. “It’s important to the UFC, it’s important to Jake’s opponent, and it would have been important to Jack. It’s one of those things, Jake is a soldier, I’m going to meet with him later today and he’s going through some grief, but he’s training today as a matter of a fact.”
“I think he was the catalyst to his career,” Gracie noted when asked to comment on the influence Jack had on his son’s accomplished career. “Jack was extremely involved in Jake’s wrestling, used to take him to all the wrestling practices, he used to take all the guys to wrestling…Jack gave Jake an enormous amount of support all through his wrestling career and when he got into MMA.”
Shields (26-5-1) will be competing for the first time since April, when he lost by unanimous decision to champion Georges St. Pierre, ending the former Strikeforce champ’s 15 fight win streak.
In Ellenberger, Shields (24-5) will face an opponent who has won four straight bouts, a run that includes stoppage wins over Mike Pyle, John Howard and most recently Sean Pierson.
“Jake’s got to keep a lot of pressure on him,” said Gracie, when asked to assess Ellenberger’s skills and what Shields needs to do against the surging veteran. “I think that ultimately he’s going to have to grind him down and tap him out. I think Jake’s jiu-jitsu is world class and I think he has to put him in his world.”
“Ellenberger hits hard, he’s very dangerous for the first round and a half or so,” Gracie added. “He hits hard and he can knock you out…He’s going to come out and throw bombs, so Jake has to do what Jake does. Jake has been in with some of the sports hardest hitters, Ellenberger is not Dan Henderson, so Jake is going to have to survive and he’s going to have to run him down, tap him out and beat him.”
The September 17th “Battle on the Bayou” bout will take place at New Orleans’s N. Morial Convention Center. The event will be broadcast on Spike.