Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has weighed in on the two-year ban handed down to T.J. Dillashaw for his failed drug test, claiming it will affect his claim as the greatest bantamweight of all-time.
Dillashaw accepted a two-year ban for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), retroactive to his fight against Henry Cejudo on Jan. 19, 2019. Bisping said on his “Believe You Me” podcast that he doesn’t understand how Dillashaw thought he could fly under the radar especially as the bantamweight champion. (Transcribed via MMANews.com):
“I just don’t understand it myself to be honest,” Bisping said on his “Believe You Me” podcast. “If you’re TJ Dillashaw, you’re champion of the world, he was close to being a two weight champion — well maybe not that close — but he had the opportunity. To know you’re going to get tested, when you’re the champion in the UFC, you get tested more than if you’re a prelim fighter. That’s just the way it goes.
“To risk it all. To know that if you’re taking EPO, there’s a two-year ban, tarnishes your legacy as Dan Hardy said on his podcast as a martial artist and as a human being. He’s never going to lose that.
“If he comes back after two years and continues to fight, the court of public opinion is not very forgiving and people are going to remember that,” Bisping said. “It’s a really, really bad look. Talk about a fall from grace. He was champion, he gets knocked out by [Henry] Cejudo, refuses to take that loss and now tests positive.
“Listen, I don’t want to kick a man while he’s down too much cause obviously no one regrets this more than TJ Dillashaw but the fact of the matter is when you’re cheating in combat sports, I fail to have sympathy. I really do.”
The 40-year-old Bisping has a well-documented past against fighters with performance-enhancing drug violations, in particular Vitor Belfort who landed a head kick on “The Count” during their fight back in January 2013. The kick caused damage to Bisping’s eye which still affects him today. Belfort has a history of using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) throughout his career was flagged during his stint with the UFC as having elevated levels of testosterone.
“I like TJ, he’s a decent guy but I can’t have any sympathy,” Bisping said. “I suffered badly at the hands of performance enhancing drugs and many people have. I say it all the time, we’re not putting balls in a basket here. We’re trying to do damage to our opponents and there’s no honor in cheating like that. There really f—king isn’t.”