Chael Sonnen has detailed the benefits of Erythropoietin (EPO), the drug TJ Dillashaw tested positive for in 2019, resulting in a two-year suspension. The former UFC bantamweight champion returns to action against Cory Sandhagen in the UFC Vegas 32 main event this weekend.
Two months after his first-round TKO loss to Henry Cejudo in their flyweight title fight at UFC Brooklyn two and a half years ago, Dillashaw was handed a two-year suspension and stripped of his bantamweight title after it was revealed that he took EPO prior to his fight with ‘Triple C’.
Dillashaw admitted to using the drug to manage his cut down to flyweight, but said that EPO didn’t help him much. Sonnen, who also has a history of taking performance-enhancing drugs, believes the substance has lots of benefits, however.
Benefits Of EPO
Speaking on his YouTube channel (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), Sonnen explained how EPO enhances endurance by increasing the number of red blood cells in the body.
“EPO, of all the performance enhancers, I will tell you, personal experience here. I’m an expert in performance enhancers for all the wrong reasons, but an expert nonetheless. EPO, without question, is my favourite,” Sonnen said. “I’ve taken everything. I’ve gone into GNC’s or health stores and tried everything on the shelf on the off chance that something would work, and it doesn’t. They’re all junk. None of that stuff anywhere on those shelves works, but the same is true with performance enhancers. You’re not gonna get a bump on all of them.
“EPO is going to increase your red blood cells. What does that do? The red blood cells is what carries oxygen throughout the body. So the more red blood cells you have, the more oxygen you can get. It directly affects your cardiovascular output. It’s not going to make you bigger, it’s not going to make you leaner, it’s not going to make you stronger. It’s going to give you more endurance … a guy that takes EPO, particularly in training, can now just train longer. He can hit the bag that many times more. He can jump that rope many times more.”
EPO’s Hard To Detect
Sonnen continued by saying that while EPO takes quite a lot of time to produce its incredible results, it’s extremely difficult to detect as it washes out of a user’s system within a few days.
“It grows over time,” Sonnen said. “If you were to take your shot, you’re gonna need about 10 days for it to kick in, but Day 18, you’re gonna feel even better. By day 30 it’s gonna be even better. It slowly builds. It’s just one of these incredible things. Tough to catch somebody taking EPO because it can wash through your system within 72 hours. You take it, they got a small window where it could be detected, but the benefits can last much more like six weeks. Eight weeks sometimes, so it’s very effective.”
Do you expect TJ Dillashaw to perform at the highest level after his doping controversy?