Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker Thursday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that his middleweight champion, Cung Le, has booked another major motion picture role and will relinquish his belt.
Jake Shields and Jason "Mayhem" Miller will now vie for the undisputed title under the eye of CBS when the two meet at the promotion's primetime network debut Nov. 7 at location to be announced early next week. A report on ESPN.com says the Sears Center Arena in Chicago is under intense consideration, citing sources close to the situation. The telecast will air live from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Coker was unaware whether the broadcast would be tape delayed to other parts of the country.
"I had a conversation with Cung and he has a lot of respect for Jake and Jason, and he's got another movie coming up, so he's asked me if he could step down, which we're going to honor his request," said Coker. "By no means does that mean he's going to be retired, but he's going to be unavailable for the next two months."
Coker said he hoped to book the newly minted movie star again after his filming obligations are completed, though nothing was confirmed.
"With Cung, every six weeks we'll be checking back with him," he continued. "Now that he's not going to be our title holder, we'll put him in some big super fights and continue his MMA career, but not have the pressure of defending his belt when he has movie opportunities."
Miller and Shields were expected to face off in October, but the bout, and event, never materialized. Both pointed the finger at one another for the delay. Miller on Thursday confirmed the fight via his official Twitter account, stating, "I duck NO ONE."
Shields was unavailable for comment, but his manager/father, Jack Shields, said "we're just pleased it's happening. We're happy to be back with CBS. With both of them doing the show, I'm sure it will create a lot of interest, and we're really happy to be on the card with Fedor."
Miller (29-6-1) hosts the MTV reality show "Bully Beatdown," on which Shields has made multiple appearances. He last fought in late May, where an inadvertent illegal knee he threw in a middleweight title bid against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza forced a no contest stoppage.
Shields (28-4), a former EliteXC welterweight champion, defeated former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler in early June, stepping up from welterweight to a contest limited to 182 pounds in Strikeforce's second major card televised by Showtime Networks.