T.J. Dillashaw’s EPO doping scandal continues to reverberate across the mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape. For years, members of his previous Team Alpha Male camp have harped on the former Bantamweight champion, accusing him of not only being on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), but of “showing everyone how to do it on Team Alpha Male.”
Then there was the revelation that United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) doesn’t typically test samples for EPO, which seems like a pretty big oversight. Indeed, a past Dillashaw sample from Dec. 2018 leading into his fight with Henry Cejudo retroactively tested positive for EPO. Considering Dillashaw is known for using his cardio to out-work his opponents, it was a pretty damning revelation.
At least there’s not the old denial song and dance going down at the moment. Dillashaw dropped the belt just days after USADA came to him with the test results. Where most fighters claim ignorance or contamination, thus far Dillashaw has been silent. And now his nutritionist / strength and conditioning coach Sam Calavitta has issued a statement that implies Dillashaw has admitted guilt ... or at least that Calavitta believes his client is guilty (via ESPN’s Brett Okamoto):
Statement from TJ Dillashaw’s nutritionist/strength and conditioning coach Sam Calavitta. pic.twitter.com/2usauhm7ru— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 10, 2019
It is with a heavy heart that I, Coach Cal, the owner, founder, and purveyor of The reigning Lab, have recently seen the defeat of one of our family members in recent months. This defeat is not due to the skills and combat savvy of an opponent of flesh, but rather a defeat at the perilous hands of a far more sinister foe — the demon of self doubt which haunts each and everyone of us at one time or another in our lives.
As a man of few words, preferring passion and belief as a shield to be carried out upon, I am bemused to careless and reckless dialog for no other purpose than to make myself head among the masses plagued by willful ignorance. However, there is an appropriate, and even required time for the head of a family to speak out. And, this is such a time.
The Treigning Lab in no way condones or encourages our family of athletes, worldwide, to partake in the perilous downward spiraling helix of synthetic performance enhancement. To do so is not only harmful to the individual but also harmful to the brothers, sisters, and other family members who are judged guilty by association. Yet the arena of public scrutiny is heavily weighted down with the enigma of fear for what it does not understand. To that end, the fact remains that The Treigning Lab, in concept and private practice established itself among Olympic and collegiate wrestlers in the year 2001 and has embarked on the life changing journey through sport with thousands of athletes spanning almost two decades of unparalleled excellence. We use quantitative analysis, metabolically accurate nutrition, proper supplementation, recovery facilitation, intelligence, and a training regiment of such high intensity that few have the wherewithal to imagine, much less dare to embrace. In the same amount of time, our athletes have never failed a single mandated test, yet reside among the elite in each of their chosen sports; standing at the top of the podium of character and integrity.
The Treigning Lab was built upon the foundation of integrity, hard work, and most importantly family. So, in light of recent events The Treigning Lab and its affiliates would, first, like to thank USADA for upholding the standard of sterling athletic practices and offering tests to ensure the safety and fairness of competitive sports. That being said, we would also like to thank all those who have come forward at this time to show their genuine concern for all of our athletes, especially TJ Dillashaw, a fallen soldier on the battlefield of public expectation and demand for perfection. Although, not right, and inexcusable, TJ succumbed to the relentless pressure to win at any cost for the purposes of appeasing his employers, pleasing his fan base, and providing for his family; a sentiment that we all can relate to.
He has now accepted the repercussions of his decisions; and as such, it is our decision as The Treigning Lab family, to stand beside him in his journey forward.
Of course, nothing in the statement implies Coach Cal knew anything of Dillashaw’s illicit PED use — it’s a total shock to all those around him!
That just underscores the standard operating procedure of everyone whenever someone fails a drug test. Will Dillashaw be one of the few guys to just own up to a PED suspension? He’s now gone for two years, and won’t be back in action until 2021. As bad as the cheating is, that’s a pretty severe punishment.
There’s a certain respect that could be earned by accepting that fate and admitting use. Compare that to Jon Jones, who continues to misinform people on how drug testing works to downplay those picograms, as well as claiming a sexual enhancement pill caused his clomiphene failed test even though the guy who “gave him the pill” also bought clomiphene separately alongside the pills.
Any kudos he gets for being straight forward now isn’t going to help many people be less sore about the years of lying, though. The effect on Dillashaw’s legacy isn’t clear yet, but already people are wondering whether his entire championship reign should be declared invalid. It’s just too bad it took that long for USADA to catch him.