Going into Strikeforce: Nashville, Scott Coker and crew surely understood the risk of having three championship fights on live network television, especially one featuring noted grinder Jake Shields. If all went to decision and weren’t similar to the epic Gilbert Melendez-Josh Thomson match, they stood the risk of a weeklong barrage of criticism from the MMA media and blogosphere. When Shields was pulled off of Dan Henderson in the fifth round that seemed all but inevitable. And then Jason "Mayhem" Miller got in the cage.
Miller interrupted Gus Johnson’s interview with the victorious Shields, asking the defending middleweight champ if he was ready for a rematch of their fight last November. Shields, still hyped up from the grueling contest with Henderson in which he was dropped twice in the first round, shoved Miller. Sprinkle in a little Nick Diaz and all hell broke loose. The ensuing brawl was only partially aired as CBS cut to stock footage. When the live feed came back in the fight was still going on as Gus Johnson implored them to stop.
Things settled down but a very thick dust cloud hangs over the aftermath. Miller seems to have done the improbable: generated heat for a rematch with Shields. He is currently scheduled to face Robbie Lawler next and Shields is in contract limbo. After Shields’ victory, the free agent will surely be receiving an enticing offer from the UFC. If all prior indicators pointed to him leaving Strikeforce, this invigorated rivalry certainly makes things interesting in the coming weeks.