USADA have suspended former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw for two years for testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO)
Dillashaw tested positive for the banned substance following his flyweight title bout against Henry Cejudo on January 19th in New York.
The former bantamweight champion did not contest the suspension when USADA announced it on Tuesday with two years the maximum sanction for a non-specified substance under the UFC’s anti-doping program.
“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “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 had announced last month that after being flagged by USADA he would be voluntarily relinquishing his 135lb title.
“I’m quite familiar with EPO from my days investigating professional cycling teams,” UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky told ESPN. “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.”
Breaking: TJ Dillashaw has been suspended two years by USADA. Tested positive for EPO prior to Jan. 19 title fight against Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw did not contest the suspension. pic.twitter.com/R8zYWJinxN
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 9, 2019
The New York State Athletic Commission issued Dillashaw its own one-year suspension for the failed drug test. Dillashaw will serve the suspensions concurrently, meaning he will be re-eligible to compete in January 2021.