T.J. Dillashaw knows he messed up.
That’s the message from the former UFC bantamweight champion, who broke his silence and admitted guilt after testing positive for EPO following his most recent fight against Henry Cejudo in January. EPO is a synthetic hormone used in blood doping that helps increase red blood cell production to take in more oxygen.
It’s typically used in endurance sports such as cycling or running to help with conditioning.
The penalty for Dillashaw’s violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy will cost him the next two years of his career where he won’t be eligible to fight again until after Jan. 18, 2021.
On Friday, Dillashaw released a series of videos on Instagram where he took the blame for his performance enhancing drug use while also admitting that he felt bad for his coaches and teammates, who are also receiving criticism in the wake of his positive drug test.
“I messed up,” Dillashaw said. “I’m having a hard time trying to forgive myself for this — which I should have a hard time. I understand the criticism and the scrutiny coming my way. But what I really feel bad about is the 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’ve got a 15-month-old son and I want to be a role model for him.
“I’ve got to man up to what I did. I accepted all penalties — I didn’t try to fight this thing. I’m going to sit for the next two years.”
After just undergoing shoulder surgery a couple of days ago, Dillashaw lamented his bad decisions and how he’s going to lose two years of his career for what he did wrong.
As much as he wanted to just fade away from the public spotlight in the wake of this suspension, Dillashaw says he had to face the music if for no other reason than to serve as an example to his son.
“Jan. 18, 2021, is when I’m allowed to come back. I had shoulder surgery [Thursday] on 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, it’ll be nice to get those healed up before I come back,” Dillashaw said.
“I’ve had people tell me I should just 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 to handle this thing. I’m showing my son we made a mistake, face it to its face. Trust me, I’d love to run away and go hide in a cave the next two years and continue to grow out this s—tty beard, but it’s been weighing on me, and it should. This is who I am. I’m a fighter. I’ve got to fight my way through this one.”
In the end, Dillashaw apologized to his fans and supporters after making an ill-fated mistake that undoubtedly tarnishes his legacy where he was arguably considered the greatest bantamweight fighter of all time.
“I want to apologize to my fans, anyone I’ve let down, obviously my family, my coaches and my teammates,” Dillashaw said. “I can’t say sorry enough for the stuff you’re dealing with because of me. But this won’t be the end of me.
“I’ll be back and I’m making you a promise now that I’ll be back better, I’ll be back stronger, and I’ll prove the hard work I’ve done is what got me where I’m at and not the bad decision that I made. That’s all I can do. All I can do to redeem myself is work hard. I’ll be better. I want to be better and I will.”