USADA bans Dillashaw for two years for positive EPO test.
Former UFC Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has been suspended by USADA for two years, after testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) prior to his Flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo on January 19.
Cejudo KO'd Dillashaw in the first round of the bout, and it will be the last time we see TJ in the octagon for quite some time. According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, Dillashaw did not contest USADA's decision.
The two-year ban, which is dated retroactively to January 18, 2019 when the test was submitted, is the maximum punishment for a non-specified substance under the UFC's anti-doping program, according to ESPN.
"We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense," said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart in a released statement, according to ESPN. "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."
According to ESPN, EPO is a peptide hormone used to stimulate red blood cell production, and it is typically administered via intravenous injection.
"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."
In addition to the USADA suspension, The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) issued Dillashaw its own one-year suspension for the failed drug test. Dillashaw will serve the suspensions concurrently, making him eligible to compete again in January 2021.