T.J. Dillashaw voluntarily relinquished his UFC bantamweight title when news of a failed drug test surfaced last month.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced a more formal penalty Tuesday, suspending Dillashaw two years for the presence of EPO in his system during a Jan. 19 flyweight title loss to Henry Cejudo in New York.
USADA, which administers the UFC’s anti-doping program, issued the maximum sanction, retroactive to Jan. 18.
EPO, the common name of recombinant human erythropoietin, is a synthetic hormone used to stimulate the body’s production of red blood cells, thereby increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power, and is on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list.
“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a statement. “It is exactly why strong anti-doping efforts are necessary to protect clean athletes’ rights, health and safety, and to ensure that those who do succumb to these pressures and decide to break the rules will be held accountable in a real and meaningful way, as in this case.”
Dillashaw, 33, is the second UFC fighter to be flagged for the use of EPO under USADA’s oversight of the program, following Gleison Tibau in 2015.
Dillashaw, a former two-time bantamweight champion, also received a one-year suspension from the New York State Athletic Commission for the positive test. The punishments will be served concurrently.