It’s been a shocking fall from grace for former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today that it has suspended him for two years due to a positive test for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) prior to his flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, New York, according to ESPN.
Dillashaw did not contest the suspension. USADA officials announced it on Tuesday. Dillashaw voluntarily relinquished his bantamweight championship when news of the failed drug test broke. It’s a bit of a moot point, however, as the UFC would have stripped him once his suspension was announced today. He previously received a one-year ban from the State of New York.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart released a statement on the suspension:
“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” said “It is exactly why strong anti-doping efforts are necessary to protect clean athletes’ rights, health and safety and to ensure that those who do succumb to these pressures and decide to break the rules will be held accountable in a real and meaningful way, as in this case.”
Dillashaw’s two-year ban is the maximum such ban for a non-specified substance under the UFC’s anti-doping partnership with USADA. It is dated retroactively to Jan. 18, 2019. EPO is a peptide hormone that is commonly used to stimulate red blood cell production.
He becomes the second UFC fighter to test positive for EPO since USADA testing started for UFC athletes in 2015. Lightweight Gleison Tibau was the first and was also suspended for two years. Olympic athletes are typically given four-year suspensions for testing positive for the substance.
It’s a shocking turn of events for Dillashaw, who was knocked out by Cejudo in 32 seconds in Brooklyn. Now, he’ll be out for two years due to his seriously concerning use of EPO. UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky opened up to ESPN about the suspension:
“I’m quite familiar with EPO from my days investigating professional cycling teams.
Neither Dillashaw nor his team has commented on the suspension as of this writing.