TJ Dillashaw Says Extreme Weight Cut Prompted Him To Use EPO
This past weekend, TJ Dillashaw gave his first interview since receiving a two year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Dillashaw appeared on Chael Sonnen’s You’re Welcome podcast, whilst both men were in New York for Bellator 222. Sonnen faced Lyoto Machida in the co-main event, while Dillashaw was cornering his teammate Juan Archuleta.
The former UFC bantamweight champion relinquished his 135lbs title, before USADA suspended him for testing positive for a highly illegal Erythropoietin (EPO). A substance Sonnen also tested positive for the same substance in 2014.
Speaking to Sonnen (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Dillashaw explained why he’s laid low since the suspension began and his reasons for taking the illegal substance.
“I’ve hidden out. I haven’t done any interviews, I haven’t done…I’ve just kind of hidden away from it. There have been things I’ve wanted to say, but I didn’t because it didn’t want to create excuses.
“First and foremost, I cheated. I don’t want to runaround that — that’s why I announced it even when USADA was coming out. I didn’t want to create any excuses, I was like, ‘Look, this was it.’ I did it, I want to be up front with you guys. I didn’t want to create any excuses about why I did it. I knew eventually I would talk about it and this is now, this is the first time I have.”
“I was so into doing something that was never done before. Not the two champs, obviously I wanted that more than anything, I wanted to prove I was the best in the world, but it was also to drop down to that weight class. I’m a lean 135er. I wanted to drop the weight class to go to the 125’s, and I played it off on how easy it was going to be. ‘I can do this, no problem, I always cut weight.’ I pushed my body to the extreme. About six weeks out, my body started to crash it started to get tired. I started feeling like I didn’t wanna wake up for practice.
“I test everything; I test my hair for toxins, I test my saliva for my hormone levels. I want to be the most ultimate athlete I can and I started crashing. I tested my hematocrit and I was down in the 30’s, which I normally walk around with around 45. I was down in the 30’s, the high 30’s, but I was on the verge of being anemic.”
“I decided to take something I wasn’t allowed to take. It was called Procrit, it’s an anemia medication that would not only help me make the weight, but would also allow me to be myself. 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 and I got caught.”
“It’s a rough one, man. It’s hard not to hate yourself a little bit, you know…it’s a tough one.”
Last week, Henry Cejudo defeated Marlon Moraes at UFC 238, to win the vacant UFC bantamweight title.