UFC 150

Jake Shields' Positive Drug Test Does Not Overshadow Need for Killer Instinct

August 11, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Jake Shields (left) fights Ed Herman (right) during UFC 150 at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Dale De SouzaAnalyst IOctober 12, 2012

Jake Shields may have popped dirty for a prohibited substance at UFC 150, but it doesn't change what Shields must do to come back strong in six months.

As we know, UFC 150 saw Shields defeat Ed Herman by unanimous decision in his return to middleweight. Herman found himself controlled on the ground by the top game we've come to expect from Shields. To Shields' credit, he did attempt to end the fight by submission multiple times, and he did tire Herman out to the point where the TUF 3 runner-up found himself legitimately unable to do anything in retaliation to the efforts of the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.

However, while Shields brought his fight to Herman, even hardcore MMA fans found themselves less than satisfied with the performance of the champion—noting that a fighter on Shields' level should have hunted with greater persistence for the kill against Herman.

Regardless of the substance taken by Shields, the positive drug test—which will likely cause the result of that UFC 150 affair to change from a unanimous decision to a no-contest—will not draw outrage from fans, who suspect the cause of the positive drug test to be marijuana simply because of Shields' affiliation with the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu camp, which claims former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz and UFC on Fox 5 headliner Nate Diaz as team members.

On that subject, allow me to state outright that no one should put much stock in Shields "not playing fair", as it holds zero significance in Shields' overall performance. While Shields should deserve some props for manning up, admitting to his own fault, apologizing for his actions and taking his punishment like a true professional, he still needs to find his killer instinct.

Had Shields taken any sort of PED, surely his performance would have looked a bit different from what fans saw in Denver. Of course, if Shields did take any PEDs, and I believe he did nothing of the sort, his performance would never suggest it as it looked like a typical Jake Shields performance. It did not deliver a verdict that made many care that Shields competed on the card, but it did prove another case of why those who don't care for Shields' style should persist in attempting to stop him as Ellenberger did.

Perhaps now is the time for Shields to squash whatever bug bit him and caused him to remain content with grinding out wins when fans know what he can do to win fights. He's done it before, but does he wish to do it again, even though his proverbial "machine" has no visible malfunctions at the moment? If not, Shields may travel a longer road than what he would prefer in his quest to finally take some UFC gold home.

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