Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw received a two-year suspension from USADA for violating the UFC's anti-doping policy.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart also released a statement on the ban (h/t Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com):
"We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense. 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 tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) ahead of his Jan. 19 flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo, which Cejudo won by first-round knockout.
"I'm quite familiar with EPO from my days investigating professional cycling teams," Jeff Novitzky, UFC vice president of athlete health and performance, said of the substance. "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."
The New York State Athletic Commission also handed Dillashaw a one-year suspension, which he will serve during his USADA ban. He is not eligible to return to the Octagon until Jan. 18, 2021. He had already relinquished his bantamweight belt last month following the positive drug test.
Given his age and time away from elite competition, it will be a tall task for the 33-year-old Dillashaw to ever be a top contender again once he returns to action. His legacy will be forever changed by Tuesday's news.