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Jake Shields talks PED issues, Stitch Duran firing, Palhares, Reebok & more

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In a recent interview with the Three Amigos Podcast, Jake Shields discussed his desire to exact a little painful revenge on Palhares, his thoughts on the PED rule changes and where they still need work, the firing of cutman, Stitch Duran and more.

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Tomorrow night in Las Vegas, welterweight standout Jake Shields will meet Rousimar Palhares center-cage in the main event of WSOF 22. It's a pretty intriguing match-up, as is the entire card. It's unfortunate that it doesn't air until very late and must compete with the UFC 190 event, but hardcore fans will no doubt find a way to watch these two long time veterans settle their differences.

In a recent interview with the Three Amigos Podcast, Shields discussed his desire to exact a little painful revenge on Palhares, his thoughts on the PED rule changes and where they still need work, the firing of cutman, Stitch Duran and more. Here's what he had to say:

TAP: You're fighting Palhares this weekend in a really exciting match-up, imho. Do you still feel like he's a "dirty sociopath" and deserves a little extra pain?

Shields: I definitely feel he deserves a little extra pain. He's gone out there and hurt people. Not just in fights, but in submissions matches as well. He deserves a little bit of a beating so it makes this an exciting fight. He's a guy I don't like, but he's also a great fighter so I'm going to get to test myself in this one as well.

TAP: Going into this bout, obviously it's important to win, but does the "teach him a lesson" aspect factor in a little bit too?

Shields: I don't just want to win this fight, I don't just want a decision; I want to really finish him. I would love to go out there and knock him out or submit him. A win is a win, but I want to get a big win by putting him away.

TAP: Alan Belcher showed that offensive grappling to put Palhares on the back foot can have some success against him. He threw a banana split in there, tried for a twister and eventually got the TKO from inside Palhares guard. You have some of the best offensive grappling in the sport so is that part of your gameplan?

Shields: Yeah, you can't go out there and be too scared of this guy. If you're only worried about defending then he's open to just keep attacking, so I'm definitely going to attack back. If he goes for my legs I'm attacking back. There's an old saying that the best defense is a good offense, so I'm going to be attacking him.

TAP: In Palhares' fight with Jon Fitch, he got the kneebar finish, but there's a big group of people that say he held on for too long. Do you think he held it for too long?

Shields: Yeah I think he held on just a little bit too long. In some of his other fights he held on way too long obviously, but this one was still just a little too long. He just goes out there and really cranks them, and I think once guys tap you should stop, but he keeps on cranking. He's a guy you really want to make sure you don't lose too, because he might blow your knee out.  I'm going to make sure I don't give him the opportunity to catch me in anything.

TAP: Is it possible that fighters are going into fights with Rousimar with a fearful mindset to even attempt to go to the ground with him because his "leg mangling" reputation precedes him?

Shields: I think guys are going in a little bit intimidated by him, and they're not reacting instantly. You see guys making mistakes with the leglocks and sitting there a little too long. Not to take anything away from him, he does have amazing leglocks. If you look at the technique and see what he's doing, he's really fast and he's really precise; he knows exactly what he's doing there.

TAP: Some people say that his failure to grasp English well enough hinders him from understanding the referee. Do you believe that?

Shields: Nah. He's just making excuses. He's just trying to pass it off. He's done it in submission matches as well. I saw it in Abu Dhabi against guys who clearly tapped, but he just kept cranking it. It's something he has a habit of doing.

TAP: Have you spoken to Jon at all since the fight to get his input about anything helpful he might have noticed during that fight?

Shields: No I haven't talked to Jon. I haven't seen him. I think he's out in Vegas just now but that's one of the fights I've watched and I've seen what Rousimar has done, and I've seen where Jon made some mistakes, so I'll be making sure I don't make the same mistakes.

TAP: We saw Stitch the cutman get fired for giving his honest thoughts on losing a big sponsorship deal that paid him monthly. Do you think this Reebok deal is ultimately going to really leave a black eye on the sport because of the way the UFC is strong arming people?

Shields: Yeah, I think it's ridiculous. There's so many things wrong with this situation. Stitch is one of the greatest cutmen ever, and he's a great guy. It may help the World Series of Fighting since we can work with Stitch, but the way the fired him was ridiculous. It's not like he was really bashing the UFC, he was just making a statement that he was losing money from the deal, so to fire him for that was just ridiculous.

I'm not sure what the UFC was thinking with the Reebok deal. I get the point of having uniforms and stuff, but overall it seems like a terrible strategy. This amount of backlash can't be good for them. -Jake Shields

Ultimately it's turning into a lot of negative press for the UFC. There's been a big backlash and the fighters aren't happy that they're being paid less by the deal either. I'm not sure what the UFC was thinking with the Reebok deal. I get the point of having uniforms and stuff, but overall it seems like a terrible strategy. This amount of backlash can't be good for them.

TAP: Do you feel like you got out of there just in the nick of time to avoid the Reebok mess?

Shields: I'm definitely glad I'm not dealing with this right now. It's nice to be getting sponsors at WSOF. The situation is good for guys like me because it means there are more sponsors available outside of the UFC, but it sucks for all of my friends in the UFC. A lot of guys are barely getting by anyway and they need that extra money, so to have that cut really hurts a lot of people.

TAP: Now that Scott Coker is at the helm of Bellator, is that a promotional option you consider, or are you happy with WSOF and plan to stay there indefinitely?

Shields: It's hard to say. Right now I'm happy with the World Series of Fighting; I like what they're doing, but I take it one fight at a time. I'm not even sure how much longer I'll be fighting, so I'm just enjoying it and worrying about one fight at a time. I'm just trying to get through this fight and then I'll decide what I want to do next.

TAP: We've seen the commission guidelines and rules for banned substances dramatically change with much harsher penalties for everything under the sun, including marijuana. Do you think some fine tuning is in order, especially for the marijuana portion of those rules, and do you think the testing procedures themselves should be adjusted, since we're seeing things like Anderson Silva with both a positive and negative result with his A and B samples, as well as Gilbert's recent mishap, where he feels maybe a tainted supplement might have been the root of his test result? (The IOC found in a 2001 study that nearly 15% of sports supplements tested positive for undeclared prohibited substances)

Shields: I don't think fighters should be tested for marijuana anymore. It's not a performance enhancer and more and more states are making it legal. I just don't quite understand why they're still testing for marijuana or why the punishments are so harsh.

It's definitely scary when you see supplements being tainted, and tests coming back with one sample positive and one sample negative. It makes you wonder, because it can ruin your career if something is testing wrong.

It's a very tricky matter. It's definitely scary when you see supplements being tainted, and tests coming back with one sample positive and one sample negative. It makes you wonder, because it can ruin your career if something is testing wrong. It gets tricky because you can have guys [who cheated] claiming it was a tainted supplement. I think things need to be changed, but I don't have the answer of exactly how to do it.

TAP: If the upcoming IV ban gets rolled out sport-wide, is that something that will affect you and do you believe the ban is in the fighter's best interest?

Shields: First off, I definitely don't think the IV ban is in the best interests of the fighters. I think there's a lot of guys who cut a massive amount of weight and they really need the IV to help them rehydrate. It's not going to affect me that much; I've only used an IV a couple of times. I generally don't use one so it's not a big deal for me, but I think the guys who rely on them should get to keep using them.

TAP: You mentioned earlier that you didn't know how long you'd be fighting. Have you already started lining up your exit strategy for when you do decide to step away from competition?

Shields: Early on in my career I started investing my money and I've been working with a couple of businesses as well. I'm not rich, but I'm financially very comfortable right now. I could retire if I wanted to, but it's a good situation where I'm fighting because I still enjoy the sport. If all of a sudden I don't enjoy it, or my body is failing, I'll walk away. I don't want to be one of those guys who are UFC legends that are just fighting because they need money and not because they love it. Luckily I'm not in that situation.

TAP: Are you a movie buff and/or a TV fan and if so, what's the last movie you've seen and would you recommend it to your fans, and what TV shows are on your DVR right now?

Shields: I watch movies occasionally, but not that often. The last movie I saw was the new Mad Max and it was really good. I'm into action movies and it had some really good non-stop action. I really enjoyed it. My favorite TV shows are things like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad; the classics.

TAP: Have you read the Game of Thrones books?

Shields: I read the first two books, but I didn't read after that.

TAP: If you could make a fight between any two combat sports athletes, past or present, what would that fight look like?

Shields: Oh man. There are so many good fights, it's hard to say. I'd probably put Fedor against someone. Prime Fedor against Cain I think.

*You can listen to this excellent interview via the embedded player below. Jake's interview starts at the 1:09:30 mark of the audio.*