This week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw a two-year suspension for his use of EPO, a powerful performance enhancer that can only be taken by injection.
This news was particularly pertinent to former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, who has lost to TJ Dillashaw twice in the last two years. Garbrandt himself, and other members of the MMA community, have wondered publicly if Dillashaw might have had an extra advantage in their two recent bouts.
Speaking on Twitter on Wednesday, Garbrandt’s manager Ali Abdelaziz argued just that, claiming Garbrandt’s losses should now be considered no contests.
Abdelaziz also scolded the United States Anti-Doping Agency for dong “a horrible job” catching dopers, and announced that he knows “at least five people” using EPO — presumably fighters the agency has not yet caught.
“TJ going through what he’s going through. He’s already dealing with a lot of problems. But @Cody_Nolove those 2 losses should be no contests. Usada doing a horrible job testing guys for EPO, I know at least 5 ppl who are on it” – Ali Abdelaziz on Twitter.
Speaking to ESPN shortly after news of Dillashaw’s suspension surfaced, UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky explained why EPO is such a serious anti-doping offence. To remind: he knows this banned substance well from his days testing the world’s top cyclists.
“I’m quite familiar with EPO from my days investigating professional cycling teams,” he said. “It’s a very effective substance. It’s not a substance you find in contaminated supplements, it’s injectable only. You have to know what you’re doing when it enters your system.
“On a scale of seriousness in anti-doping, it’s up near the top.”
Needless to say, it would not be surprising if USADA has some questions for Ali Abdelaziz after this loaded comment.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/11/2019.