T.J. Dillashaw suspended for two years
T.J. Dillashaw, former UFC Bantamweight champion / Pic: Instagram @tjdillashaw

Former two-time UFC Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has been suspended for 2 years following a failed drug test

T.J. Dillashaw relinquished his belt two weeks ago, after he announced that United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had found an adverse finding. The banned substance recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) or more commonly referred to as EPO was found in a urine sample taken on January 18, 2019.

This was ahead of Dillashaw attempting to make weight for his try to dethrone UFC Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Yet, he failed to win the fight.

In the USADA press release rHuEPO is described as “a synthetic hormone used to stimulate the body’s production of red blood cells, thereby increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power.”

UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky told ESPN, “I’m quite familiar with EPO from my days investigating professional cycling teams”.

“It’s a very effective substance. It’s not a substance you find in contaminated supplements, it’s injectable only. You have to know what you’re doing when it enters your system.

“On a scale of seriousness in anti doping it’s up near the top.”

“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement.

“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.”

The two year suspension is the maximum sentence for a first offence under UFC anti doping policy. Dillashaw has accepted the charge without appeal.