12 Apr - 
Ex-UFC champ T.J. Dillashaw admits fault in statement after suspension for failed EPO test

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw today admitted to cheating and said he’ll face the music after being suspended for two years for using using erythropoietin (EPO).

“I’ve had people tell me I should just disappear and let this stuff die out, let this thing die out for the next two years and just disappear,” Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) said in a video statement posted to his Instagram account. “But I don’t think that’s the way to handle this thing. I’m showing my son we made a mistake – face it to its face.

“Trust me – I’d love to run away and go hide in a cave the next two years and continue to grow out this (expletive) beard, but it’s been weighing on me, and it should. This is who I am. I’m a fighter. I’ve got to fight my way through this one.”

Via Instagram:

Wearing a brace on his arm and sitting in a chair outside, Dillashaw, 33, said he underwent shoulder surgery Thursday to repair his damaged right shoulder. He said he’ll again go under the knife in two months to repair his other shoulder and said he’s been fighting with “torn rotator cuffs and labrums” for over two years.

Dillashaw repeatedly apologized to his fans, family and coaches for reflecting negatively on them.

“I messed up,” he said. “I’m having a hard time trying to forgive myself for this – which I should have a hard time. I understand the criticism and the scrutiny coming my way. But what I really feel bad about is the bad light I’m bringing on my coaches, my family, my teammates. They had no involvement in this, and I feel the worst for them. I’ve got a 15-month-old son, and I want to be a role model for him.

“I’ve got to man up to what I did. I accepted all penalties – I didn’t try to fight this thing. I’m going to sit for the next two years.”

Late this past month, Dillashaw voluntarily relinquished his belt while announcing a potentially adverse test result stemming from his failed bid for Henry Cejudo’s flyweight title in January at UFC on ESPN+ 1. The UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), subsequently announced the ex-champ accepted a two-year suspension for recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), a banned performance-enhancer that aids endurance athletes and is ingestible or injectable.

The positive test marked a stunning fall for Dillashaw, who’d battled back from the loss of the bantamweight title to reclaim and defend it with a pair of wins over ex-teammate and rival Cody Garbrandt.

Despite the grim news, Dillashaw’s coaches stood by the fighter amid widespread backlash from the MMA community. The UFC has booked a fight between Cejudo and No. 1 bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes for the vacant title at UFC 238.

Below is Dillashaw’s full statement:

I messed up. I’m having a hard time trying to forgive myself for this – which I should have a hard time. I understand the criticism and the scrutiny coming my way. But what I really feel bad about is the bad light I’m bringing on my coaches, my family, my teammates. They had no involvement in this and I feel the worst for them. I’ve got a 15-month-old son and I want to be a role model for him.

I’ve got to man up to what I did. I accepted all penalties – I didn’t try to fight this thing. I’m going to sit for the next two years.

Jan. 18, 2021, is when I’m allowed to come back. I had shoulder surgery (Thursday) on my right shoulder. Two months later, I’m getting my left one done. I’ve had torn rotator cuffs and labrums for the last two and a half years I’ve been dealing with – it’ll be nice to get those healed up before I come back.

I’ve had people tell me I should just disappear and let this stuff die out, let this thing die out for the next two years and just disappear. But I don’t think that’s the way to handle this thing. I’m showing my son we made a mistake – face it to its face. Trust me – I’d love to run away and go hide in a cave the next two years and continue to grow out this (expletive) beard, but it’s been weighing on me, and it should. This is who I am. I’m a fighter. I’ve got to fight my way through this one.

I want to apologize to my fans, anyone I’ve let down – obviously my family, my coaches and my teammates. I can’t say sorry enough for the stuff you’re dealing with because of me. But this won’t be the end of me. I’ll be back and I’m making you a promise now that I’ll be back better, I’ll be back stronger, and I’ll prove the hard work I’ve done is what got me where I’m at and not the bad decision that I made. That’s all I can do. All I can do to redeem myself is work hard. I’ll be better. I want to be better, and I will.

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