Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, tested positive for cocaine metabolites in a December drug test. The news came out Tuesday and Jones announced the same day that he would be checking into a drug-treatment facility.
"Bones" won't be fined or suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) since the test came out of competition and subsequent tests were clean. However, in the court of public opinion, Jones is taking a bigger beating than he has ever received in the Octagon.
In Shields' opinion, that is not right, because the people doing the disparaging have never been in Jones' position as a young, millionaire athlete. Peer pressure in certain circles is a real thing, the World Series of Fighting star welterweight said.
"People don't understand," Shields told MMAFighting.com. "Jon Jones is king of the world. It's not like people randomly doing drugs. He's probably with the richest people, the hottest girls, everyone trying to get him to party."
Shields, who takes on Brian Foster in the main event of WSOF 17 on Jan. 17 in Las Vegas, tested positive for a banned substance following a win over Ed Herman at UFC 150 in August 2012. The Colorado State Boxing Commission (CSBC) suspended and fined Shields and the victory was turned into a no contest. But the CSBC was not allowed to release the drug he tested positive for by law. Shields has been private about the matter and, in some ways, empathizes with Jones.
"It's tough," Shields said. "We have lives, too. We make mistakes. We do things. Obviously, I don't think he should be doing the coke, but it's easier said than done. I've made my mistakes as well. Right now, everything is good in my life, but it's easy to fall in these traps."
Shields, 35, has been following the Jones news, mostly because it's everywhere he looks. He doesn't understand the actions of the NAC at all. Jones was not supposed to be tested for cocaine, but he was due to an "administrative oversight" and then the results were released after Jones' victory over Daniel Cormier on Jan. 3 at UFC 182. The commission has said that the information was made public, because of a media request.
"I think it's unfortunate that he's doing cocaine, but that's like a whole separate issue," Shields said. "The legality is if you aren't supposed to be tested for it, then why would they test you for it? If they accidentally tested you for something, then why would they release it?"
Shields believes the positive test for cocaine could be potentially very damaging for Jones.
"It just cost him millions of dollars in sponsorship money," Shields said. "It's a pretty serious issue to throw that out there. Obviously, he shouldn't be doing it and he probably needs a rehab process if he needs help on that end. But it seems unfair to blast him for something he wasn't supposed to be tested for."
In all, Shields thinks it's a "very negative thing" that Jones used cocaine, especially as a professional athlete. But he also has an image of the situations in which he believes Jones likely took the recreational drug.
"You'd be surprised how it is with rich and famous people -- everyone doing drugs, hot girls everywhere," Shields said. "It's just way too easy to get sucked into it."