T.J. Dillashaw will not be stepping into the Octagon as a competitor for a while. The former bantamweight champion was flagged recently for an errant drug test and willingly gave up his belt at the time. Now, he’s been suspended for two years by USADA for EPO (recombinant human erythropoietin) use.
ESPN reported the news, and included a statement from UFC anti-drug czar Jeff Novitzky:
“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.”
USADA made it clear that Dillashaw (16-4, 12-4 UFC) did not contest the suspension. It is dated retroactively to January 19th, which means he cannot compete until January of 2021. The New York State Athletic Commission had already issued a one-year suspension for the same test failure, which came ahead of his first-round TKO loss to Henry Cejudo.
Dillashaw is a two-time former UFC 135-pound champion and is considered one of the top fighters in the world. Other UFC fighters that have tested positive for EPO inside and outside of the bounds of USADA include Chael Sonnen, Gleison Tibau, and Ali Bagautinov.