After former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw popped hot for EPO — which not only cost him his title, but also a two-year suspension — many came out in defiance against “Viper,” bashing him at every turn for cheating his way to the top and hurting other fighters, financially, mentally and physically, in the process.
But to his former training partners at Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw testing hot didn’t come as a shocker, as former champion Cody Garbrandt was adamant he was trying to tell the whole world TJ was cheating all along.
Now, another one of TJ’s former teammates is stepping up to give his side. And while Joseph Benavidez won’t bash Dillashaw, saying he’s had enough of that, he will say he is surprised it took so long.
“I wasn’t surprised at all that he finally got caught,” said Benavidez in interview with MMA Junkie. as transcribe by MMA Fighting.“Wasn’t surprising at all. There’s nothing I can really say as far as, like, that hasn’t already been said. I’m not gonna sit here and say the guy is this and that because if you look at the internet and everyone, it’s already been said. So there’s nothing worse you can say than what everyone already thinks, which I think is warranted. Everything that people are out there giving him, it’s 100 percent warranted for what he did.”
Surprisingly, others weren’t so quick to crucify Dillashaw, as former UFC champions Dominick Cruz and Demetrious Johnson seem to think that most were blowing everything out of proportion and his two-year suspension is nothing more than a blessing in a disguise.
A blemish, if you will.
“It just goes to show, there’s consequences for what you do and you can’t hide who you are forever,” Benavidez said. “I’m surprised it took that long for him to get caught, and hid what he’s about this long,” he said.
While Joseph ins’t excusing TJ’s actions, he sides with Dominick Cruz, saying the two-year suspension isn’t all that bad.
“But you can’t hide that stuff forever. It’s great that it came out. There are consequences and if anything, I don’t think the consequences are that much. It’s not that bad. Get some surgeries. You got paid the day after the fight anyway. So it’s not like you’re getting suspended for the year. But like I said, it’s all the other things. All the disgrace and everything that is warranted, and maybe hurts more.
TJ will be eligible to return to action in January of 2021. In the meantime, he is taking advantage of his newfound time off by taking care of some old nagging injuries via surgery. Once he returns, the 135-pound landscape will be vastly different.
Though there is no guarantee that either of these two men will be champion at that time.