T.J. Dillashaw has come clean and admitted that the EPO detected in his samples were due to him knowingly taking the drug. His initial response when he was suspended was that he planned on working with his team to figure out how it ended up in his samples from his bout with Henry Cejudo on January 19, 2019.
Cejudo won the contest via knockout at 0:32 of the first round.
After staying silent for quite some time, Dillashaw posted a lengthy video admitting to the use. He also stated that it was his decision alone and apologized to his family, coaches and teammates.
“I’m having a hard time trying to forgive myself for this. Which I should have a hard time. But I got to man up to what I did. This is who I am. I’m a fighter … and I’m gonna have to fight my way through this one.”
Former Dillashaw teammate Cody Garbrandt has long been accusing the UFC fighter of taking performance enhancing drugs. Fans and even UFC president Dana White had commented that Dillashaw is tested by USADA just as all other fighters with the company are tested in pre and post-fight.
White changed course yesterday when he addressed the EPO findings and the fact that USADA only does random samples for the synthetic hormone. Dana is quoted as saying;
“It bothers me. We’re spending all this money for USADA to make sure there’s a fair playing field so I’m always 100-percent confident if you’re doing something, you’re going to get caught and that wasn’t the case. That bothers me.”
UFC’s vice-president of health and athlete performance Jeff Novitzky explained that USADA does “passport” testing of samples and if something is suspicious or off with the sample data, they will perform additional tests for banned substances such as EPO. These tests are done at an additional cost and Novitzky hinted that these additional tests were costly.
Novitzky went on to defend the policy stating that the UFC and USADA testing for EPO is already more stringent than the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA).
These findings make it possible for others on EPO to remain undetected as the testing is random, only happens as a percentage or if other factors and data lead the agency to believe a fighter might be taking a banned substance.
Garbrandt challenged the UFC on Twitter to “Test all (Dillashaw) samples” as he has long believed his former teammate has been on performance enhancing drugs. Many have believed the accusations were simply a losing fighter throwing accusations at an opponent (Garbrandt lost back-to-back matches to Dillashaw) but the revelations of USADA’s testing procedures for EPO and other substances throws suspicion at Dillashaw.
The fact that Dillashaw admitted to its use only further tarnishes his reputation and legacy. Dillashaw received a two year suspension and isn’t eligible to return to competition until January 2021.