T.J. Dillashaw has posted a series of videos apologizing for his conduct and expressing his remorse after accepting a two-year suspension for his positive drug test.
Dillashaw posted on Instagram on Friday taking full responsibility for his actions. In the video, he claims his coaches, family and teammates had nothing to do with his positive drug test, and apologized to them all. He vowed that this was not the end for his career, and that he would return better and stronger.
Dillashaw recently received a two-year suspension after testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), a banned substance that synthetically increases production of red blood cells. Results from the substance allow for greater oxygen transportation in the blood stream and the potential for increased aerobic performance. His suspension was levied effective Jan. 18, and as a result he also surrendered his bantamweight title. The initial suspension from the New York State Athletic commission lasted one year with a $10,000 fine, and it was increased to two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
On Friday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's Vice President of Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky also claimed that USADA will be testing previous samples from Dillashaw's earlier drug tests for EPO. Should those samples test positive for the substance as well, Dillashaw could be subject to additional sanctions.
Dillashaw competed at UFC Brooklyn in January, and attempted to become a rare two-division champion. His debut at flyweight proved unsuccessful, as he ended up getting knocked out by flyweight champ Henry Cejudo in 32 seconds. Cejudo has elected to move up to bantamweight to face Marlon Moraes for newly-vacated strap at UFC 238 on June 8.
In his statement, Dillashaw said the following:
"I messed up. Been having a hard time trying to forgive myself for this, which I should have a hard time. And I should have a hard time forgiving myself. I understand criticism and scrutiny coming my way, but what I really feel bad about is the kind of bad light I'm bringing on my coaches, my family, my teammates…they had no involvement in this, and I feel the worst for them. I got a 15-month-old son that I…I want to be a role model for him. I'm sure there's a lot of other kids out there too, it's tough. But I gotta man up to what I did, you know, I accepted all penalties, I didn't try to fight this thing.
I'm gonna sit for the next two years as of January 18, 2021 until I'm allowed to come back. On the road to comeback is, I got shoulder surgery yesterday, my right shoulder, two months later I'm getting my left one done. I've had torn rotator cuffs and labrums for the last two-and-a-half years I've been dealing with, but it'll be nice to get those healed up for a comeback. I've had people just tell me I should disappear, and let this stuff die out -- let this thing die out for the next two years and just disappear. But I don't think that's the way of handling this thing…at first, showing my son that we make a mistake, face it, face it to its face, you know, and don't run from it. Trust me, I'd love to run away and go hide in a cave for the next two years and continue to grow out this s----y beard. [laughter]
Yeah, man, it's been weighing on me. And I say it should. This is who I am, I'm a fighter and I have to fight my way through this one. I want to apologize to -- I've already apologized -- but I apologize to my fans, anyone I've let down, obviously my family, my coaches, my teammates. I can't say sorry enough for stuff that you're dealing with because of me. But this won't be the end of me, I'll be back, and I'm making a promise now that I'll be back better, I'll be back stronger. And I'll prove that the hard work that I put in will allow me to come back…and not the bad decisions that I've made. And it's all I can do. All I can do is to redeem myself is work hard, be better. I want to be better, and I will."