MMA veteran Mike Pyle has turned down a title shot against Elite XC welterweight champion Jake Shields, although he is still taking the fight, according to MMA Weekly. The bout was originally supposed to be for the title, but Pyle seems intent on leaving Elite XC once his contract is up after this fight.
He claims that the organization isn’t doing enough to promote him, and that’s why he wants to go somewhere else. It seems that offering the man a shot at the title is a pretty good faith gesture on the part of Elite, particularly considering that Pyle could really hold them over the coals in negotiations for a new contract if he wins. Of course, they’d probably want him to resign before the bout, but having him fight Shields at all makes it a title fight of sorts, anyway.
Pyle also claims that the fight was offered to him too late, with only five weeks to prepare.
“And to have them call me up five weeks before a date on a fight and ask for me to fight a title shot, a five round fight, that’s not enough time to prepare. Five weeks out is not enough time to prepare for a guy like Jake Shields, plus those championship rounds.”
This makes it sound as if Pyle has reasons for not wanting the fight that go beyond the lack of posters with his face on them. It’s one thing to feel underpromoted (notice he didn’t say underpaid, which is the issue with most guys), but it’s another to feel like you can’t get in shape for the two extra rounds.
I have to say, though, it seems like flawed logic and a bad gamble all around for Pyle. If his fear is that he won’t have enough gas in the tank to go five rounds, Shields is a tough enough fighter that he’ll exploit that in the first three frames. And if Pyle is going to take the fight anyway and then leave, he has to know that his future contracts might depend on how he performs in this bout.
Maybe he already has another organization lined up to sign him, I don’t know. But he should realize that he might as well be fighting for the title. At least then he’d have something to show for it if he wins.