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Midnight Mania! TJ Dillashaw addresses ‘borderline fraud’ accusations: ‘I took a gamble’

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For about ten or 15 minutes, TJ Dillashaw earned some goodwill in his UFC 280 loss to Aljamain Sterling. Fans watched the former champion try his damnedest to fight the best Bantamweight on the planet with a single functional arm, and when the fight inevitably turned against him, he didn’t look for a way out. That type of toughness and grit is commendable, and for a moment, even Dillashaw haters were giving begrudging respect.

Then, the post-fight interview happened. Dillashaw revealed that he injured his shoulder over six months ago, and that it was popping out all the time. Fans cried foul, and MMA analyst Luke Thomas described his choice to fight as “borderline fraud.” In an appearance on The MMA Hour, Dillashaw addressed that specific term and the general criticism he’s received.

“Like I’m not being thrown under the bus enough,” Dillashaw responded (via MMAFighting). “Like he thinks I went in there to collect a paycheck. I went in there with the utmost belief that I was going to win, and I was going to get my title back, something I’ve been waiting to do for three-and-a-half years and chomping at the bit. I just beat Cory Sandhagen on one leg, and why not? Why would I not believe I can beat a guy who’s less dangerous and that I matched up with really well.


“The shoulder obviously came out a lot sooner than I hoped and didn’t go back in, which, on average, was not the case – so unfortunate kind of events.”

Dillashaw later elaborated that he viewed the fight as a “bet on himself.” Dillashaw understands that he’s older and has a lot of wear on his body, meaning committing to surgery first and then trying to return would have been a risk in its own right. Plus, he remains fairly unimpressed by Sterling, despite the fact that “Funkmaster” beat him up rather severely.

“I took a gamble as well, and that’s why it’s called f—king gambling. You don’t know the situation. I took a gamble. I could have sat out and got surgery, but when I come back, who knows if I’m going to get a title shot right away, or I’m going to have to fight my way back up in it, or how bad this shoulder is. Let’s be honest, this is my third surgery in my left shoulder. It’s not like I’m a spring f—king chicken and it’s going to be an easy fix. It’s a serious thing.

“I will be coming back. I’m not going to let my story end that way. But it’s still in the back of your head – I go in for surgery, I’m out for a year, and I was just out on surgery. There’s no guarantee you get a title fight when you come back. There’s a lot of options I’m weighing out, me getting this fight, against a champion that’s very beatable. I think he’s the most beatable champion right now in the division. I think he’s some big holes in his game, and I match up well with him, I’m going to roll them dice and I’m going to bet on myself, even with one arm.”


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