EPO found in Dillashaw’s USADA tests, accepts 2-year ban

April 10, 2019

T.J. Dillashaw has been suspended by USADA for two-years for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after testing for the prohibited substance EPO.  The former bantamweight champion has accepted the sanction.

The 33-year-old tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) as a result of an in-competition sample provided on the day of his fight against Henry Cejudo, January 18, 2019.  EPO, as the banned substance is commonly known, is notorious among the cycling community for its benefits with aerobic performance.  EPO is a hormone naturally produced by the kidneys.  However, it can be artificially produced to improve the performance of athletes.  It stimulates the body’s production of red blood cells, thereby increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power.

According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto another Dillashaw out-of-competition test from December 2018 was retested and showed EPO.  The reason it was not noticed previously according to Okamoto was due to the nature of the testing for the drug.

Dillashaw’s acceptance of the sanction likely means that there were no defenses which could save him from penalty.  Moreover, with his attempt to be a double champ and the well-documented weight cut down to 125, it seemed as though Dillashaw was superhuman.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Payout Perspective:

Dillashaw’s legacy is tarnished for now and we will see what becomes of him if and when he returns to the sport.  His tenacity, skill and effort seemed to be at a championship level but with this revelation, it’s tainted.  USADA will need to evaluate whether it is necessary for it to test for EPO since it does not always do that when testing athletes.

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