TJ Dillashaw is no longer the UFC bantamweight champion.
Dillashaw (16-4) announced Wednesday morning that he is “voluntarily relinquishing” the UFC’s 135-pound title after he was informed by the New York State Athletic Commission and the United States Anti-Doping Agency of an “adverse finding in a test taken for my last fight.” ESPN confirmed the validity of the statement via multiple sources.
The New York State Athletic Commission later said in a statement that is has suspended Dillashaw for one year and fined him $10,000 fine “for violations relating to use of a prohibited substance.” The suspension is retroactive to Jan. 19, the date of his last fight.
It’s unclear at this time whether the USADA will suspend him longer. USADA officials were not immediately available for comment.
Dillashaw, 33, dropped down to flyweight in January to challenge Henry Cejudo for that belt; he lost the fight via TKO in just 32 seconds.
Tuesday’s news was disappointing for Cejudo’s camp, which had hoped for him to move up in weight and challenge Dillashaw for his bantamweight title.
“This sucks. Henry wanted that rivalry/money fight and the 135-pound belt and to shut the critics up once and for all. It made sense. I hope it was a mistake or contamination for his sake because that’s a hell of drop from glory, from chasing the pound-for-pound status with two belts to losing it all,” Eric Albarracin, Cejudo’s head coach, told ESPN. “He has a family to support, and I wish that on no one. Can only wait to see what USADA final determination is.
“This throws a wrench in our plans. It’s early and haven’t spoke with Henry yet. However if I know Henry, he still wants that belt, because he is chasing a legacy, or Joe Benavidez might get served up a cold plate of Aztec Warrior revenge. Whoever it is be prepared for an even better version of Henry than his last outing.”
He originally won the bantamweight title at UFC 173 in May 2014 when he pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history by defeating then-champion Renan Barao. Dillashaw lost the belt in January 2016, but he regained the title for a second time in November 2017, when he knocked out Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217. He successfully defended the belt in August when he defeated Garbrandt again, before setting his sights on flyweight.