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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw said he’s had time to assess his decision after taking a prohibited substance ahead of his title fight against Henry Cejudo back in January and says he just wants to put the incident behind him now and focus on the future.
Dillashaw was handed a two-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for taking the performance-enhancing drug recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) and won’t be eligible to compete again until Jan. 2021.
The 33-year-old was a guest on the recent episode of ESPN’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show and said he knowingly took the drug as he was struggling to make weight for his flyweight debut (via MMAMania.com).
“I took an anemia medication called Procrit, which the main ingredient in it was Erythropoietin (EPO). It helps rebuild blood cells,” he said. “When you become anemic, your red blood cells start to plummet and you lose energy. I was on a super strict 1600-calorie day diet and working too hard. I pushed my body to extreme limits,” added Dillashaw.
“No excuses. I made the mistake of wanting to do something that hadn’t been done. I sold my soul to the devil and now I got to build myself back up and deal with it.”
Dillashaw said the challenge to get to 125-pounds got the better of him and took the substance “three or four weeks” out from the fight.
“I was getting down to that bare minimum weight where everything was affecting me. I didn’t want to wake up and train in the morning. I had to lose a bunch more weight and I didn’t want to go to the gym, I didn’t want to run and didn’t want to do what I had to do,” he said while revealing he took the banned substance immediately after being drug tested.
“I got drug tested and I decided I would be able to be clear until the fight, then I fuc*ed up and made that decision. Like I said, I wanted to make it to the fight, I wanted to do something that was unheard of and I let it get the best of me.”
Despite the suspension to Dillashaw, the 135-pound division has been boosted by the introduction of two-former champions in Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo after both moved down from the featherweight division.