TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/9: TJ Dillashaw accepts 2-year USADA ban for EPO failure, Conor McGregor settles cell phone smashing suit, Cormier ready for UFC to book Lesnar fight, much more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

January 19, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; T.J. Dillashaw reacts following his loss against Henry Cejudo during UFC Fight Night at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports


TJ Dillashaw has officially been handed and accepted a two-year ban after USADA revealed that Dillashaw failed for EPO. The failure came from a urine test taken on Jan. 18, the day before Dillashaw’s 32-second loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn.

Dillashaw was handed a one-year suspension after an ‘adverse result’ was found by the New York State Athletic Commission but USADA has jurisdiction to hand out its own suspensions based on its own test results. After the initial New York failure was announced, Dillashaw surrendered his UFC bantamweight championship. Cejudo will be challenging Marlon Moraes for that vacant belt on June 8.

Dillashaw will be eligible to re-enter competition on Jan 18, 2021. He will be 35 years old.

EPO is commonly used by cyclists and long-distance runners. It is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body, but taking it artificially can result in increased endurance for athletes. Clinically, EPO is used for “kidney failure, chemotherapy, and other medical conditions involving red blood cell loss and anemia.”

“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a press release. “It is exactly why strong anti-doping efforts are necessary to protect clean athletes’ rights, health, and safety, and to ensure that those who do succumb to these pressures and decide to break the rules will be held accountable in a real and meaningful way, as in this case.”

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto also reported that a previous sample from Dillashaw, dated Dec. 28, 2018, also tested positive for EPO. Okamoto says a special test needs to be performed on the samples and it isn’t used on every sample, which is why it wasn’t caught initially. While it’s possible that Dillashaw has an explanation for the EPO being in his system, the fact that USADA has released the information and that he has accepted the suspension could indicate that he is owning up to using EPO knowingly.

TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter also found an old tweet from Dillashaw’s former teammate Cody Garbrandt, that indicates his use of EPO goes back some time.

“Must be all that EPO going to your head!” the April 2018 tweet said.

If TJ Dillashaw is looking for increased endurance, he’s really going to need it as he must endure a full two years on the shelf.

Tuesday Notebook

-The civil suit between Conor McGregor and the man whose cell phone he smashed last month in Miami has been dropped. It is likely that a private settlement has been reached between McGregor and the man. McGregor still faces criminal charges for the incident, however.

-Daniel Cormier wants Dana White to book a fight between him and Brock Lesnar right away. “Dana, get on the phone right now,” Cormier told TMZSports (transcribed by MMAFighting). “If you haven’t called him yet, do it today. What are you waiting for? Let’s get this shit on the books. Let’s get this on the books.”

-Ross Pearson announced his retriment from MMA last night. He won season 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and finished with a 20-16 career professional record.

-UFC light heavyweight Azamat Murzakanov has accepted a two-year USADA suspension from tests dating back to Sept. 2017. This means Murzakanoz will be eligible to fight on Sept. 2 of this year.

Fight Announcements

-Sergey Spivak will fight Walt Harris at UFC Ottawa on May 4.

-Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Alexa Grasso is booked for UFC 238 on June 8 from Chicago.

-Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey and Heather Hardy against a yet to be named opponent are set for Bellator 222 on June 14 from New York City.

-Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa is set for UFC 239 on July 6 from Las Vegas.

In case you missed it

MCGRATH: The table is set for Cormier-Lesnar, but is that the true money match?

FREE PODCAST 4/8 – PWTorch Dailycast – MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans: Vallejos, Hiscoe, and Ennis review WrestleMania 35, discussing Rousey, Lesnar, and some of the auxiliary events, plus Frank Mir as a pro wrestler, Mike’s review of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, more (98 min)

UFC 236 Embedded 1 + 2



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