T.J. Dillashaw may not have been out of the woods yet.
After Dillashaw's two positive screening tests for the Prohibited Substance, Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (EPO), USADA continues its investigation into the now-former UFC bantamweight champion, according to the UFC Vice President of Health and Athletic Performance, Jeff Novitzky.
Dillashaw was suspended for two years because of the UFC anti-doping policy violation, it was announced earlier this week. And any other discovery of EPO in samples of previous drug tests could increase the duration of this ban, Novitzky said.
Dillashaw, 30, was tested positive for the EPO during his fight against Henry Cejudo on January 19 at UFC Brooklyn. The USADA returned and analyzed the Dillashaw sample on December 28 to determine the EPO, which also yielded positive results.
According to Novitzky, USADA has already reviewed all samples collected from Dillashaw as part of its fighting since the agency resumed the UFC drug testing program in 2015. Dillashaw's Is beaten six times as part of this program before the fight of Cejudo. All the samples provided had been subjected to an EPO test at the time and returned healthy, Novitzky said, said USADA.
However, USADA is still looking for new samples of old Dillashaw samples, Novitzky said. Although USADA may have had more of it available, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratories to which the samples were sent were sent.
"They're checking again," Novitzky said about USADA. "They want to know if themselves or, in some cases, the WADA labs are able to make the decision to keep the samples themselves, so in some cases, USADA will say," Hey, those 10 samples you got today are CFU samples or our samples, and keep them for 10 years. "In addition, the lab alone can say," You know what, we're going to keep those thousands of samples for the sole purpose of studying. "
"Right now, they are checking these databases to see if there is anything left. And I think that if they stayed and had not had the special analysis done by the EPO, they would do it here in the coming week. "
If USADA finds more old samples from Dillashaw and one of them becomes positive again to EPO after further analysis, Dillashaw could be imposed a new one. violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy and a potentially longer suspension, Novitzky said.
"Yes, that's what I understood," Novitzky said. "He was not the victim of a second violation for the positive of December, because I think they examined everything in the context of a permanent violation. It's pretty close to the fight night test. But certainly, none of these previous tests – and I do not know it – but there remained something that had not been the subject of this analysis and who had done it and that the result was positive, it would be another violation. "
USADA does not test each sample for the presence of EPO because it occurs naturally in the body; it is therefore more complex and takes longer than regular analyzes, as indicated on the USADA website. Novitzky announced that the agency will test the EPO when a red flag will appear in the biological passport that the USADA keeps on every UFC fighter.
Novitzky said USADA did not explain why the agency had decided to test the sample in Dillashaw UFC Brooklyn's competition for EPO. But it can be inferred that a red flag appeared somewhere in the Dillashaw test history. Novitzky said the USADA had told him that "every test is done strategically".
"From what I understand, they have algorithms that spit out someone who displays alarm signals that may not correspond to the following level:" Hey, that's a positive test ", but wait a second, we found a slight rise in red cells or the urine profile is a little different from the last time," Novitzky said. "These are probably athletes who will be the subject of a special analysis."
USADA said via a statement from spokesman Adam Woullard that the agency's investigations on Dillashaw did not differ from the usual protocol for any failed drug testing.
"As part of our investigation into all positive cases, we review the history of past tests of an athlete," said Woullard. "Where this is potentially relevant, we may request a special analysis for these samples. As a result of our review, we conducted further analysis of its sample taken on December 28, 2018, which also revealed the presence of EPO. "
EPO is a drug that is particularly difficult to detect. Novitzky said four or five years ago, when he had met her as the federal agent responsible for investigating cyclists, a microdose allowed her to clean the system in six at eight o'clock. Novitzky said that the EPO increased the number of red blood cells, which could increase endurance and improve recovery.
Dillashaw has basically admitted the intentional use of EPO, apologizing in a Friday video message on Instagram. He called it a "mistake" and a "bad decision".
Novitzky said he hoped that Dillashaw's situation would deter other participants in the USADA program from the UFC.
"Personally, complete mix of emotions," Novitzky said. "I love T.J., good person. But doing something like that is really bad and concerns me in this sport. So, definitely a mix of emotions. I tell people all the time, when these things happen in the pipe, I'm never happy with them. Part of me says, "My God, did not I tell that guy or this girl that they were going to get caught up in this program? did it? " to feel like sometimes. "