Near-defunct ProElite blocking free agency for Shields

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Shields' manager and father, Jack Shields, on Monday told that an unnamed lawyer representing ProElite informed him on Saturday that his son was not a free agent.

The elder Shields, along with several fight managers under the ProElite umbrella, in late October sent the company a "notice of breach" letter asking them to fulfill their promotional and payment obligations within 30 days or their contracts would be abandoned.

ProElite responded to the letters on or around Nov. 3, stating they were in the process of "downsizing" and said they planned to continue promoting in early 2009. They also stated that EliteXC fighters needed express written consent to fight for other promotions.

According to Shields, the same lawyer contacted him on Nov. 12 to discuss the company's standing, and claimed it had righted problems with the California State Athletic Commission. On Nov. 6, former CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia suspended the promoter's license of ProElite in one of his last actions at the agency.

"He said the athletic commission suspended the license when they heard the news reports of ProElite going out of business, but they were reinstated now," said Shields. on Monday confirmed with new CSAC Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas that he had indeed reversed the suspension and that ProElite and King of the Cage both had their promotional licenses reinstated.

It is unclear whether the lawyer promised legal action if Shields continued to pursue opportunities for his son. He is currently consulting with a lawyer to verify the legality of the decision to field offers from other fight promotions. Until then, he remains where most ProElite fighters do -- in a holding pattern.

Nevertheless, Shields sounded optimistic he could free the champ.

"I want to try and get him in a good situation," Shields said.