T.J. Dillashaw is no longer the UFC bantamweight champion.
Dillashaw announced Wednesday morning on Instagram he failed a drug test in relation to his January flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo, and as a result of that, has chosen to relinquish his belt “out of fairness and respect” to his division, he wrote. He described the test, which was administered by the USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, as an “adverse finding.”
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Dillashaw has been suspended one year by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC). A formal announcement is expected for Wednesday morning, he wrote. Dillashaw is still subject to sanctions from USADA.
TJ Dillashaw has been suspended for a year by the NYSAC, according to sources. A formal announcement is expected to be made this AM. Unclear at this time if he will be suspended longer by USADA but this is a NYSAC and USADA issue. Also unclear what he failed for. Developing.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 20, 2019
“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.
It is not clear what substance Dillashaw tested positive for at this time.
Dillashaw dropped down to 125 pounds to challenge Cejudo in an attempt to become a two-division champion. But Cejudo knocked out Dillashaw less than a minute into the bout, which headlined UFC Brooklyn, the promotion’s first show in the ESPN era.
Dillashaw’s suspension will be retroactive to that Jan. 19 bout.
Per a policy change last year, USADA no longer announces positive drug tests before the case has been resolved. Before the policy change, it was standard to announce “potential violations” before a full investigation was completed and a sanction was given to the athlete at hand.
Dillashaw won back the bantamweight title in November 2017 with a second-round knockout of former teammate and now-rival Cody Garbrandt. In his first title defense in August 2018, he met Garbrandt for the second time, stopping him in the first round.
Dillashaw won the title for the first time in May 2014, when he upset Renan Barao. After multiple title defenses, he lost it to Dominick Cruz in early 2016 in a razor-thin decision.
Before Dillashaw’s announcement, the plan seemed to be booking him and Cejudo for a rematch, but this time at Dillashaw’s weight class of 135 pounds, giving Cejudo a chance to become a two-division champ.
UFC officials have yet to publicly comment on Dillashaw’s announcement.
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