In March, the MMA world was taken aback when bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw revealed that he had failed a USADA drug test and would be relinquishing his title. A couple of weeks later, Dillashaw accepted a two-year suspension from USADA for testing positive for EPO. Afterwards, Dillashaw released a video statement, saying that he “messed up” and making the promise that he would be back better and stronger than before. And his teammate-turned-enemy Urijah Faber agrees, but for very different reasons.
Speaking recently with MMA Tonight, Faber said that he had no doubt Dillashaw will come back from this suspension better than ever because Dillashaw is a cheater and two years is a long time to figure out how to circumvent the rules.
“He’s going to be a beast,” Faber said (h/t Aaron Bronsteter). “He’ll put the scientist’s cap back on and figure out how he can have an advantage. That’s the way he plays. It’s one thing if people just cheat. It’s another thing if they cheat and they’re really intelligent about it and they work really hard and they have natural gifts and that’s the scenario here. If you’re going to be a cheat, you may as well be a cheat like that.
“Now, do I think he’ll be clean? Will there be after effects from whatever he’s been doing all these years? Probably, he’ll have made some gains on that. There’s no doubt that he’ll be a tough guy and people will forget about it like all the other guys who’ve been caught cheating.”
Faber and Dillashaw have a sordid history that’s been well-documented in this column. Dillashaw’s rise to the bantamweight title gave Faber’s Team Alpha Male its first UFC champion. But shortly afterwards, Dillashaw and TAM had an acrimonious split, with Dillashaw following head coach Duane Ludwig to Team Elevation. A bitter feud ensued, that ultimately saw Dillashaw knock out Cody Garbrandt twice, reclaiming the 135-pound title in the process. In the lead up to those fights, Faber and Garbrandt did not shy away from throwing PED accusations at Dillashaw and his suspension seems to have opened up old wounds, especially given how the fights with Garbrandt went.
“When you have somebody that cheats in a sport like this, not only is it dangerous, especially when they have a temper in practice, it’s unfair,” Faber said. “They’re also lying because they know they are doing something deliberately underhanded. They’re also stealing from people that don’t do it, like myself, [or] a guy like Cody Garbrandt. That’s millions of dollars, massive opportunities, that’s physical health.
“T.J.’s a master of turning himself into the victim. Like when he kind of got bought off to go and fight for Team Elevation originally - which is cool, go ahead and do that. Then when Conor called him out and called him a snake . . . somehow he turned that around to where he was a victim. . . He became the victim there and now he’s ‘facing the adversity of getting caught doing EPO’ which is like the height of PED use. There’s no remorse or anything, so that’s kind of hard to see, to be honest. I wish he would just come out and say, ‘Look, this is what I had. I stole, I cheated, I lied.’”
Faber has a point about the apology. Though Dillashaw accepted his suspension, his apology was pointedly nonspecific about what he did, opting instead for a general apology to his teammates and coaches who would be guilty by association. And though it’s hard to draw any other conclusion, Dillashaw never actually admits that he intentionally took EPO. It doesn’t really matter though. Dillashaw is now serving his suspension and will be eligible to return in January of 2023. By that time, says Faber, everyone will have forgotten about the whole thing.
“It’s unfortunate, man,” Faber said. “People are cheating in a sport that’s very dangerous and there’s a lot to gain. And I get it. Rich and famous now, you sold out for that. Great. He’s gonna sit out for another year and half and people will forget about it. But at the end of the day, it’s just not right.”
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We posted yours earlier, Champ, but they appear to be identical pic.twitter.com/M2Pby6cGRM— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 22, 2019
ONE opening up a can of worms.
Still in the hospital recovering in Singapore getting better.. thanks for all the prayers! pic.twitter.com/kWar1z55ZZ— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 22, 2019
How can you get facial surgery for many fractured bones and less than week later still be this good looking....... I stub my toe and my face gains 30lbs. This is not fair at all. https://t.co/UPNmJG5BH7 pic.twitter.com/woNe1wglN1— Jose Shorty Torres (@ShortyTorres125) May 23, 2019
Implying Gaethje-Conor is happening. . .
Re-signing with the UFC.
LOL. Like we’re gonna make it hundreds of years.
One of my dreams is to be mentioned hundreds of years after my death as one of the most dominant champions in world history.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 23, 2019
Ray Borg has had a terribly rough run.
Juan Adams is hyped.
Greg Hardy (4-1) vs. Juan Adams (5-1); UFC San Antonio, July 20.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
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