Aljamain Sterling Supports TJ Dillashaw’s Use Of ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’

While UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling believes that TJ Dillashaw’s retirement motive surrounds his desire to utilize ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’, he sees no issue with it.

This week, it emerged that former two-time 135-pound titleholder Dillashaw had notified the UFC of his retirement. The decision came weeks after the veteran underwent surgery on the shoulder injury that contributed to his demise against Sterling at UFC 280 in October.

While he’d appeared committed to a return following a lengthy recovery period in post-fight interviews, Dillashaw now sits without a place in the rankings, removed from the roster, and seemingly with his career in MMA concluded — is that really the case?

In the eyes of many, Dillashaw’s decision to call it quits hasn’t come through the realization that his career is over. Instead, they believe that the 36-year-old is taking advantage of a loophole in USADA’s system that former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has been accused of opening.

Recently, it emerged that the Irishman exited the USADA testing pool following his broken leg last July, leading some to conclude that he’s been utilizing performance-enhancing drugs to aid the healing process.

During a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, journalist Marc Raimondi linked that speculation to the recent talk regarding Dillashaw’s departure, questioning whether the former champ is making use of what he’s termed ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’.

“I do think (a return) is a possibility. I think it all hinges upon the shoulder, right?” Raimondi said. “He would be able to get back into the UFC, as we know. Maybe it’s ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’ now, we can call it, where you’re retired, out of the USADA pool for a period of time, come back in for six months, and then you can come fight.

“I would never accused anyone without proof…. but here’s a hypothetical — you leave the USADA pool, you’re retired, right? You’re not being drug tested,” Raimondi added. “As long as when you return to the USADA pool again and do your testing for six months… if you’re clean in those tests, you’re good. I wonder if maybe this is a loophole.”

While both cases remain speculation, it appears that many in the MMA community have given their verdicts on the pair’s testing pool exits, with Dillashaw’s history with PED usage perhaps providing the evidence fans and pundits need when it comes to his willingness to utilize substances banned by USADA.

Sterling Sees No Issue With Dillashaw & ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’

One man who follows the common narrative regarding TJ Dillashaw’s retirement is the ‘final’ opponent of his career, Aljamain Sterling. While “Funk Master” was vocal in criticizing his UFC 280 rival’s previous use of PEDs in the lead-up to their fight, he’s provided a different outlook on the ongoing accusations.

In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sterling suggested that Dillashaw is indeed following the blueprint allegedly laid out by McGregor. But despite that, the bantamweight king firmly supports the former champ doing whatever it takes to return to full fitness and ensure his quality of life isn’t affected by injuries down the line.

“One thing I will say, that I do support, is that Conor McGregor has seemed to have found a loophole that’s helped people,” Sterling said. “If you have a catastrophic injury, to be able to recover and get back to a norm… (That’s) something we’d love to have outside of fighting, so when we’re done fighting, we have something we can go back to; some kind of baseline.

“Physically, if I can walk properly, have my shoulders go above my head and things like that, I don’t see any problem with that. With that being said, I support TJ on this endeavor. I don’t know if he’s fully retiring. I do think he’s just looking to get out of the testing pool, so that he can do these things to get back to 100%,” Sterling added. “I do think, in my opinion, it’s okay. I want the guy to be able to play with his kids… not be limited by the injuries.”

Sterling’s remarks run parallel with his immediate reaction to the news on Twitter, with “Funk Master” insisting he doesn’t want to see his mixed martial arts peers plagued by long-term health issues.

What’s your take on the common conclusion surrounding TJ Dillashaw’s retirement? Would you have an issue with him using ‘The Conor McGregor Rule’?

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