UFC

T.J. Dillashaw’s 2-Year Suspension Has Given Him More Financial Stability Than the UFC Ever Did: ‘It Was a Blessing in Disguise’

When it comes to steroids, UFC fighters aren’t that different from athletes competing in other sports. While some fighters will abuse steroids to get an edge over their opponents, many won’t get caught, and few will suffer any consequences. Here’s a look at how T.J. Dillashaw’s two-year suspension from the sport actually turned out to be a good thing for him.

T.J. Dillashaw’s road to being the bantamweight champ

When Dillashaw made his UFC debut in 2011, he didn’t exactly wow anyone. It was his fifth professional fight, and he got knocked out by his opponent, John Dodson.

But he picked himself up, and after getting five more wins, he got a title shot at Renan Barao, who was 32-1 at the time. In one of the greatest upsets in UFC history, Dillashaw knocked out Barao and became the 135-pound bantamweight champ.

Dillashaw continued to dominate his division, and while he lost his belt in a close fight to Dominick Cruz, he won his belt back by knocking out Cody Garbrandt not once, but twice.

With the bantamweight division secured, he set his sights on Henry Cejudo, who was the champ of the 125-pound flyweight division. However, this move proved to be a terrible one.

Cejudo knocked Dillashaw out in just over 30 seconds. On top of that, not long after the fight, Dillashaw tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He lost his bantamweight belt, and he was suspended from the sport for two years.

Why did T.J. Dillashaw take performance-enhancing drugs?

Like Bloody Elbow wrote, Dillashaw only blamed himself and his ambitions for his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Weight cuts are very difficult for the lighter-weight classes, and Dillashaw had a hard time making the 125-pound weight limit for his fight against Cejudo.

Dillashaw said, according to Bloody Elbow, “I wanted to go down a weight class that my body wasn’t letting me. I full-blown went anemic and didn’t want to get out of bed.”

For many fighters, they would simply drop out of the fight if they couldn’t make the weight. However, Dillashaw knew that the fight was a big opportunity for him, both in terms of money and rankings. As such, he decided to take a “shortcut” by using those performance-enhancing drugs.

Of course, like he said so himself, karma bit him back twice. First, he lost the fight, then he got suspended for using those drugs in the first place. But he owned his mistake, and he also apologized to his fans. As he said according to Bloody Elbow, “I got what I deserved, I did my time.” 

A blessing in disguise

TJ Dillashaw prepares to enter the octagon before a UFC fight
TJ Dillashaw going through his pre-fight checks | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

That being said, Dillashaw made the most of his two-year suspension. Over the course of those two years, he started a new business, and he received some new sponsorships after being dropped by his other sponsors. The most prominent business venture that he has is a Clean Juice bar in California, according to Bloody Elbow.

He also plugs a few of his sponsors every now and again on his social media, and they include the likes of cbdMD and Halo Pets. And of course, like many other athletes with a lot of fans, he also has his own website where he sells his own merch and training programs. 

As a result of all these different business ventures, Dillashaw’s been able to be financially successful despite not fighting. He said, according to Bloody Elbow, “It was a blessing in disguise. I don’t have to come back and fight for money now, which is pretty sweet.” With his suspension over however, he’s now eligible to compete in the UFC again. 

Regardless, Dillashaw’s net worth, partially due to his newfound businesses, is about $3 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.