Former UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen is of the belief that MMA fans should forgive T.J. Dillashaw. The former UFC bantamweight champion recently returned to UFC Vegas 32 after serving a two-year suspension imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
According to Sonnen, a number of athletes in boxing, MMA, baseball, and football have tested positive for performance enhancers, but none of them were branded as cheaters like Dillashaw is.
“I don’t know if anybody has been treated the way T.J. has been treated for having a USADA violation,” Sonnen said in a video on his YouTube channel. If you have a USADA violation, they will say just that. He had a USADA violation; he served his suspension. And they only say that two or three times and then it’s long gone.”
Sonnen acknowledged his statements might appear to be hypocritical as he himself has had multiple USADA violations. Nonetheless, the former UFC fighter proceeded to explain that T.J. Dillashaw was introduced to EPO when it was considered a fad rather than the “king of performance enhancers” that it is known as today. Sonnen added:
“There are stories of T.J. early on of showing up to his gym and telling his teammates about EPO. Now, as dirty as that sounds – with the knowledge that we have today of what a great performance enhancer and how effective EPO is – that is knowledge that we have today.”
However, it’s important to note that T.J. Dillashaw was caught for EPO use after his title clash with then-flyweight champion Henry Cejudo in 2019. At this time, EPO was already on the list of banned substances.
Watch Chael Sonnen’s video below:
T.J. Dillashaw’s triumphant return
T.J. Dillashaw looked phenomenal in his return fight against top bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Vegas 32. The disgraced ex-champ proved that he is capable of performing at a high level with or without EPO.
In his absence, Dillashaw was reportedly tested 11 times by USADA and passed every single one of them. The 35-year-old also claimed that the anti-doping agency went back as far as 2016 to test his past samples for EPO.
With the win, Dillashaw reinserted himself into the UFC bantamweight title picture. He currently sits in second spot in the 135-pound rankings, behind champion Aljamain Sterling and presumed title challenger Petr Yan.
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