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T.J. Dillashaw relinquishes UFC belt after positive drug test

Updated March 20, 2019 - 8:45 pm

UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw unsuccessfully dropped to flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo for the title in January.

Now he’s lost his own belt.

Dillashaw announced Wednesday that he would relinquish the 135-pound title after a test administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the day before the fight in Brooklyn, New York, was flagged for an adverse finding.

“While words can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am at this time, please know that I’m working with my team to understand what has occurred and how to resolve this situation as quickly as possible,” Dillashaw wrote on social media. “Out of fairness and respect to the rest of my division, I’ve informed the UFC that I’ll be voluntarily relinquishing my title while I deal with this matter.”

USADA typically doesn’t disclose positive tests until the matter is adjudicated, but it issued a statement after Dillashaw went public.

“In light of Mr. Dillashaw’s social media post this morning, we can confirm that an in-competition test conducted by USADA on Jan. 18, 2019, resulted in an adverse analytical finding,” a statement read. “In this instance, we are able to confirm the finding due to Mr. Dillashaw’s public statement. The presumption of innocence under the rules is a vital part of an effective anti-doping program, and it’s only fair that Mr. Dillashaw be allowed due process before any conclusions are drawn.”

Dillashaw, who was knocked out by Cejudo 32 seconds into the fight, has been suspended for one year and fined $10,000 by the New York State Athletic Commission. His USADA case still is pending.

Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, had been seeking a rematch at 135 pounds so he could challenge for a belt in a second weight class

“Obviously, you have your exceptions out there. Some people have been wrongly accused in the past,” Cejudo told ESPN. “But people like Lance Armstrong or Marion Jones, and I’ve looked up to her in the past, they have to live with the regret and the dishonesty for the rest of their lives. I honestly feel bad for them.

“I want to reserve judgment, but I also want to say I never wish to fight anyone who uses PEDs again. There’s no place for that in MMA. This isn’t baseball or basketball. This is another human being with 4-ounce gloves hitting another human being.”

Dillashaw first won the bantamweight belt with a knockout of Renan Barao in May 2014. He lost it by split decision to Dominick Cruz in January 2016, then won it back with a knockout of Cody Garbrandt in November 2017.

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Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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