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Former UFC champion T.J. Dillashaw details decision to cheat: 'I’m not mad I did it'

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Brooklyn-Cejudo vs Dillashaw Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Dillashaw has done his best to remain secluded since earning a two-year suspension from mixed martial arts (MMA) back in April and rightfully so.

The former UFC bantamweight champion not only had to relinquish his 135-pound crown after testing positive for a highly-illegal EPO, but he also offered zero reasoning behind his decision to cheat the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) system. It was the worst case scenario for the 33-year-old, especially after coming off a heart-breaking, 32-second TKO loss to UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+ 1.

Dillashaw, who will not be eligible to return to UFC until January 2021, finally broke his silence about his failed drug test during a recent appearance on Chael Sonnen’s You’re Welcome podcast. Here is what Dillashaw had to say about his decision to take the EPO and the aftermath it has caused:

“I’ve hidden out, I haven’t done any interviews, I haven’t done – I’ve just kind of hidden away from – there’s things I’ve been wanting to say, but I didn’t, because I don’t want to create any excuses. Let’s start off, first and foremost, I cheated. I don’t want to run around that, that’s why even I announced it when USADA was coming out. I didn’t want to create excuses.

“It was like, look, this is it, I did it, I want to be upfront with you guys. I didn’t want to create any excuses of why I did it, I knew eventually I would talk about it, and this is now, it’s the first time I have. I was so into doing something that has never been done before. Not the two champs. Obviously, I wanted that more than anything, I wanted to prove I’m the best in the world, but was also to drop that weight class. I’m a lean 135’er. I wanted to drop the weight class to go to the 125s, and I played it off to how easy it was going to be. ‘I can do this, no problem, I always cut weight.’

“And I pushed my body to the extreme. About six weeks out, my body started to crash, I started to get tired, I started feeling I didn’t want to wake up for practice. I test everything. I test my hair for toxins, I test my saliva for hormone levels – I want to be the most optimized athlete I possibly can. And I started crashing.

“I decided to take something I knew I wasn’t allowed to take. It’s called Procrit, it’s an anemia medication that would help me, not only make the weight, but be myself. And, you know, I’m not mad I did it, because I don’t think I could’ve taken the fight. I’m obviously going to own up that I cheated, I got caught – it’s a rough one man. It’s hard not to hate yourself a little bit. To – I don’t know. It’s a tough one.”

While Dillashaw did what he thought was necessary to make an effective cut down to 125 pounds to challenge Cejudo for the flyweight title, his efforts were illegal at the end of the day. That’s why few people in the MMA community supported Dillashaw when his failed drug test was released and why he will be on the sidelines for the next year and a half.

Many have already discredited Dillashaw’s accomplishments throughout his UFC career in fear that the former champion has always found a way to cheat. Just ask former teammate and arch rival Cody Garbrandt, who claimed back in 2017 that Dillashaw showed Team Alpha Male members how to do steroids.

At this point, Dillashaw lacks credibility across the board. Struggling with a weight cut is not a reason to cheat the sport, his opponent, and the fans, so he’ll have a lot of catching up to do when 2021 comes around.

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