Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dillashaw Responds To Criticism For Hiding Shoulder Injury

Former two-time bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has hit back after coming under fire for his decision to fight at UFC 280.

At last weekend’s pay-per-view, Dillashaw was hoping to secure his place in the history books by beginning a third reign on the 135-pound throne. In his way of that accomplishment was reigning titleholder Aljamain Sterling.

Come fight night, Dillashaw’s hopes of dethroning “Funk Master” appeared to dwindle to zero in seconds, as his shoulder dislocated during Sterling’s very first takedown. While it appeared that the joint had been put back in place ahead of round two, that didn’t last long.

With his aggressive top control and ground-and-pound, Sterling eventually finished the one-armed Dillashaw, stalling the challenger’s historical ambitions and securing his own with a record-breaking eighth straight bantamweight win inside the Octagon.

In the immediate aftermath of the contest, Dillashaw revealed that his injury was pre-known, claiming that his shoulder had even popped out around 20 times during his training camp.

That revelation left Dillashaw becoming the subject of heavy criticism, with many questioning why he chose to fight through what appeared to be an insurmountable health problem. Even Dana White noted that the information should have been shared with the promotion ahead of time.

Now, Dillashaw has heard the noise and provided his response.

Dillashaw: Media & Fans Don’t Understand

During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Dillashaw reflected on his disappointing night in Abu Dhabi and his decision to push through to fight night in spite of his injury woes, which he noted existed throughout the year.

Having already sat out for a lengthy period due to a USADA suspension and required knee surgery following his return victory over Cory Sandhagen last July, Dillashaw said that there was no way he was going to agree to sit out another year in order to go under the knife for his shoulder.

“Even before I tweaked it in April, I needed surgery… Six months after my knee surgery, I had two rotator cuffs in my shoulder torn,” Dillashaw explained. “It’s like, I’m six, seven months into my knee rehab, I don’t wanna go get surgery. I was already out for two-and-a-half years with my suspension, out for another year with my knee surgery, and then you want me to go get another shoulder surgery and be out for another year? I was like, ‘Man, no way.'”

With that said, Dillashaw turned his attention to those who’ve since disagreed with his decision to delay surgery and share the Octagon with Sterling on October 22.

After claiming that media members and fans can’t possibly have an understanding of the situation, Dillashaw insisted that he backed himself to secure the victory even with the injury.

He also noted that fighting through health issues was never brought up in a number of his past victories, insinuating that the result is the only reason why the discussion is now happening.

“I believe I’m the best in the world. So, I wanna get my belt back and I wanna do these things before I go and get my body fixed,” Dillashaw said. “All these media people and fans, they know fighters go in injured, but they don’t really understand. Unless you’re a fighter, you seriously don’t understand.

“I’ve seen some flak going on about this fight, and that I should have divulged information about my shoulder. It’s like, bro, I’ve been in so many fights where no one knows what’s going on with me being injured, and I go out and get the win. No one asked about it.” Dillashaw continued. “Should I have divulged that information? Should I have divulged the information that my shoulders were blown out against (Cody) Garbrandt?”

Dillashaw went on to suggest that fighting through health struggles is the norm, and also listed a number of examples of other instances that haven’t received the same level of scrutiny as he has post-UFC 280.

The former two-time bantamweight king suggested that Brian Ortega would have no doubt carried in a shoulder injury ahead of his fight-ending dislocation at UFC Long Island this past July.

He also claimed the situation applies to instances of knee injuries stopping fights, perhaps referring to Tom Aspinall’s disappointing night at UFC London in the summer.

“There’s a lot of fighters who go through stuff like that. Guys we’ve seen blow their knees out and stop fights, I guarantee they had injuries,” Dillashaw said. “Brian Ortega’s shoulder, I guarantee you he had an injury going into it…This isn’t new. I fully believed I was going to go in there and get this victory.”

As Dillashaw mentioned, a number of pundits and fans have led the way with their post-fight criticism on social media.

However, it wasn’t just media members and fans who took issue with Dillashaw’s injury. UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith also shared their sentiment, admitting that he was disappointed in the bantamweight veteran “as a person” for selling “wolf tickets.”

What do you make of TJ Dillashaw’s response?

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