Marlon Moraes has wanted to fight for the UFC bantamweight title since the day he arrived in the promotion and he felt like a showdown with T.J. Dillashaw was inevitable.
Moraes will finally get his shot to become champion at UFC 238 in June but it won’t be against Dillashaw after he relinquished the title ahead of a two-year suspension issued by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) after he was busted for using EPO surrounding his last fight against Henry Cejudo.
EPO (erythropoietin) is used in blood doping to help the body produce more red blood cells, which improves the amount of oxygen that can then get carried to the muscles. It’s most common use has been in endurance sports like running and cycling because it helps with an athlete’s conditioning. Those same benefits could certainly help a mixed martial artist.
While accusations had been lobbed at Dillashaw before he got busted, Moraes admits he was still stunned when the announcement was made.
“We are all disappointed,” Moraes said when speaking to MMANews. “It was a fairy tale. We don’t know if he’s really that good of a fighter. It’s hard cause every time we get into camp, we want to get into shape, we want to get our conditioning good and this guy he wasn’t worried at all about that. If he was cheating now, he was cheating before.
“He goes on the media and tries to say he’s giving up the belt. I think he was just trying to trick the fans but at the end of the day, what happened? They suspended him and I’m nobody to judge him but now he’s going to have to pay for what he did.”
Dillashaw will now be forced to sit out until at least January 2021 as punishment for using a banned substance.
Numerous fighters have argued for stiffer penalties when it comes to performance enhancing drug use and Moraes is definitely among them.
“Two years is not enough,” Moraes said. “It’s not enough for what he does, it was really serious, that’s my opinion.”
Moraes believes that if Dillashaw was cheating now knowing that USADA is drug testing all of the fighters in the UFC, chances are he was cheating in the past as well and that will now taint his entire career.
“He was cheating the system and that wasn’t the first time,” Moraes said. “That wasn’t the first time he was going to do it now with USADA all over everyone. Before, USADA wasn’t even around and I believe he was doing it before.”
Moraes will move forward with his career in June when he competes for the bantamweight title while Dillashaw will remain sidelined for the next two years as a result of his actions.