Joe Rogan on 'cheating' T.J. Dillashaw's failed drug test for EPO: 'It taints his legacy'
Joe Rogan was a prominent supporter of T.J. Dillashaw during his rise to MMA stardom. However, even the longtime UFC analyst and commentator can’t defend the former bantamweight champion after his two-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Dillashaw’s (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) fighting career is on hold until at least January 2021 after a pre-fight test from just prior to his UFC on ESPN+ 1 flyweight title-fight loss to Henry Cejudo came back dirty with EPO. He did not contest the findings, but rather appeared to immediately accept his fate by relinquishing the 135-pound belt.
Weeks later, USADA announced Dillashaw had accepted a two-year suspension. Rogan called the situation “a bummer,” but given the nature of the substance found in Dillashaw’s system, said it’s difficult to dismiss the obvious reality of how it impacts his career.
“To me, it’s a shame because I’m a T.J. fan,” Rogan said on Wednesday’s edition of the “JRE MMA Show” podcast. “I think he’s a phenomenal fighter and I’m a big fan of watching him perform. But it just taints his legacy. It just does. There’s no way around it. When you get caught cheating – this stuff, there’s no way it’s not cheating. This is just cheating. This isn’t any accident. It taints your legacy, and the guy had an amazing legacy: two-time bantamweight champion, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.”
Dillashaw, 33, has yet to make public comment about his suspension. However, a pair of his coaches have issued statements on the matter. Longtime coach Duane Ludwig said the fight is is “still my ninja,” while performance coach Sam Calavitta put out a lengthy comment in which he claimed Dillashaw gave in to the pressures of succeeding in the fight game.
Given how EPO is a substance that in most scenarios requires ingestion or injection, there is almost no avenue for Dillashaw to excuse why it was in his system for the January test, as well as a re-tested sample from December.
The outrage toward Dillashaw from fellow fighters has been strong, and his entire body of work that includes numerous bantamweight records is now being called into question. Rogan can’t help but do that, either, because of the known benefits of EPO.
“T.J.’s an amazing fighter, but (expletive),” Rogan said. “To test positive for EPO in the Henry Cejudo fight … You’ve got to think, if you’re on EPO – how much does that allow you to train extra time? How much does it allow you to recover? What is the quantifiable benefit? It must be pretty significant. … I almost want to try it.”
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