MMA

T.J. Dillashaw accepts two-year suspension from USADA after positive drug test

UFC Champion T.J. Dillashaw has accepted a two-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency after failing a test for a prohibited substance, the organization announced Tuesday.

This news comes two weeks after Dillashaw himself declared that the USADA had discovered an “adverse finding” and that he would be vacating the UFC bantamweight championship.

ESPN was first to report the suspension.

Per the release, Dillashaw tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), a result that was derived from a urine sample taken on Jan. 18, 2019, a day prior to his failed bid to drop down a weight class and take the 125-pound title from Henry Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn.

rHuEPO is described in the release as “a synthetic hormone used to stimulate the body’s production of red blood cells, thereby increasing oxygen transport and aerobic power.” It is a prohibited substances under the UFC Anti-Doping policy.

Dillashaw’s sanction began on the date that the sample was collected, meaning the 33-year-old will be eligible to fight again on Jan. 18, 2021.

“We all know the pressures to win at all levels of all sport are real and intense,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in Tuesday’s release. “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.”

T.J. Dillashaw Gives Up Belt, Suspended By NYSAC

T.J. Dillashaw Gives Up Belt, Suspended By NYSAC @tjdillashaw

UFC’s bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has voluntarily relinquished his belt after being informed of an “adverse drug test” following his January fight with Henry Cejudo.

Dillashaw (16-4) made the announcement Wednesday morning, via Instagram. The UFC’s 135-pound title after he was informed by the New York State Athletic Commission and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

 

The NYSAC later said in a statement that Dillashaw would serve a one-year suspension and pay a fine of $10,000 “for violations relating to use of a prohibited substance.” The suspension is retroactive to Jan. 19, the date of his last fight, held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It’s unclear at this time whether the USADA will suspend him longer.

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.

Wednesday’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 a 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’s final determination is.

“This throws a wrench in our plans. It’s early and I 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.”

Dillashaw 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.  He 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.

George St-Pierre Set To Announce Retirement From UFC On Thursday

George St-Pierre Set To Announce Retirement From UFC On Thursday @georgestpierre

According to EPSN.com George St-Pierre, 37, is going to announce his retirement from UFC on Thursday in Montreal.

St-Pierre made his MMA debut in January 2002. He started his career a perfect 5-0 before signing with the UFC in 2003. He won the UFC welterweight title at UFC 65 in 2006 when he defeated Matt Hughes. He ended up losing the title in his next fight, though, when he was upset by Matt Serra at UFC 69 in 2007. That fight is considered one of the greatest upsets in MMA history. GSP would avenge that loss the following year at UFC 83, and in doing so regained the belt at the first UFC event in his hometown of Montreal.

St-Pierre (26-2), was born in Saint-Isidore, Quebec, last fought at UFC 217 in November 2017, when he defeated Michael Bisping to win the UFC middleweight title at Madison Square Garden.

 

UFC’s Francis Ngannou Knocks Out Cain Velasquez

UFC’s Francis Ngannou Knocks Out Cain Velasquez @ufc

Last night, in the headlining bout of the UFC’s debut event on ESPN, Francis Ngannou picked up arguably the biggest win of his career, defeating former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in less than 30 seconds.

In the wake of this fight, however, there’s been some debate as to whether or not Velasquez was put down by Ngannou’s punches, the knee injury he sustained, or a grisly combination of both.

Ngannou says that, after watching the fight back, he’s confident that his punches spelled the end for the former champion. More specifically, he believes he dropped Velasquez with an uppercut, which is when the knee injury occurred.

“No, because the knee buckled after an uppercut on his chin,” Ngannou said at the post-fight press conference, you can look at the video about it, so you can find out and you will see the uppercut. That might be why his knee buckled, because he got disconnected,” Ngannou told MMAFighting.com.

“In the fight, I couldn’t see that, but I watched the video and you guys can also watch the video,” he added. “So when the uppercut, that shot connected he just fell right way. I think that’s what hurt his knee.”

That being said, Cain Velasquez claims that none of the punches Francis Ngannou threw had him in any real trouble.

“It was just the knee, he didn’t even, like, touch me, you know?” Velasquez said post-fight. “It was just the knee, as soon as I felt the knee just buckle, it was like I couldn’t believe that happened. And then that was it.

“Going in for his leg, I felt he kind of clubbed me on the back of the head, but that didn’t graze me at all,” Velasquez continued.

“None of the punches grazed me at all or did anything to myself where I felt like I was unbalanced or anything. Just getting in on the inside and it was just a freak thing that happened with my knee.”

What did you make of the finishing sequence in last night’s Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez fight? Watch the clip below and let us know!

 

Nurmagomedov, McGregor Suspended for UFC 129 Melee

Nurmagomedov, McGregor Suspended for UFC 129 Melee @ufc

The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend UFC stars Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for their roles in a postfight melee that occured at UFC 229 in October.

The commission suspended Nurmagomedov (27-0) for nine months and fined him $500,000 of a disclosed $2 million purse. The suspension is dated retroactively to Oct. 6, the date of UFC 229, meaning he is eligible to return on July 6. However the suspension could be reduced to six months if he agrees to participate in a local anti-bullying campaign, the NSAC added.

McGregor (21-4) received a six-month suspension and was fined $50,000. He will be eligible to return to competition as soon as April 6.

Nurmagomedov went to Twitter with reaction to the news:

Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov’s manager, said of the fines also had this to say about the fines:”I don’t think it’s fair, Khabib gets $500K and Conor gets $50K? I think it’s bulls—.”

The NSAC also penalized several of the fighters’ cornermen and teammates who joined in on the fight after the fight.

Nurmagomedov’s cousin, PFL lightweight Abubakar Nurmagomedov and teammate Zubaira Tukhugov each received a one-year suspension and $25,000 fine. Dillon Danis, a McGregor teammate and professional fighter for Bellator MMA, also is facing punishment, but no decision has been made.

The suspensions also will be upheld outside Nevada, as all commissioners, including the UFC  will respect the decision of the NSAC, according to ESPN.

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