T.J. Dillashaw isn’t sure he would take back the EPO incident that resulted in his two-year suspension from the sport of MMA.
The former bantamweight champion returned to the UFC Octagon after more than two years out on the sidelines. The American was suspended by USADA for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in his fight against Henry Cejudo in 2019. More specifically, he tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), a substance that allows athletes to push their cardio ability to the limit and increase their aerobic capacity. The 35-year-old was back in action in July against fellow top-five bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen in a bout in which Dillashaw successfully won via a close split decision.
After his win, in a recent interview with Submission Radio, Dillashaw was asked whether he would go back and change the EPO incident that resulted in his two-year suspension from the sport if he could. Dillashaw responded with an honest yet hesitant answer due to all the benefits he was able to gain, especially financially, from his time off.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I would, to be honest,” said Dillashaw. “That’s a tough one, though. I mean, because it was a lot of shit, but so much good came from it that I don’t know if I would because who knows what would come from it if I didn’t? Like, the businesses I’ve been able to start, the time I’ve been able to spend with my three-year-old, I mean, I don’t have to fight for a living anymore. I don’t have to fight to pay the bills.”
The former champion went on to explain that how hard he works in the gym training for a fight comes down to how hard he works for his family to be financially independent if he wasn’t to fight again. Now that he has reached that position, his sole aim in MMA is to get back what he believes was his this whole time: The UFC bantamweight championship.
“What I’ve been able to put into my time…how hard I work inside the training room to get ready for a fight is how hard I work to make sure me and my family will be OK if I never fought again,” said Dillashaw. “And it turned it out to be very great. So I don’t have to find those big sponsors anymore. I don’t have to worry about the paycheck coming into a fight. I get to do it because I want to, and I’m just gonna get my belt back.”
After his win against the #3-ranked bantamweight contender in what was clearly a title eliminator fight, Dillashaw is expected to fight for the title next against the winner of Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, which was confirmed for UFC 267 in October.
What do you think of TJ Dillashaw’s comments about his EPO incident?