UFC strawweight Jessica Penne’s career could very well be over after her recent issues with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Penne released a lengthy statement on her Instagram page detailing her recent issues with USADA, noting that sanctions have kept her from fighting inside the cage, and they’ll likely continue for several years. The 36-year-old was flagged by USADA in March of 2017 after failing an out-of-competition drug test for the anabolic agent dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
As a result, she received an 18-month ban. She avoided a two-year ban after explaining she was using something approved by a physician that also contained the steroid. According to Penne’s recent post, she’s looking at more potential sanctions that could result in a four-year suspension.
“I am heartbroken and defeated,” Penne said. “USADA has effectively bullied and forced me into retiring from MMA.”
Penne noted she went “broke” during her first suspension, having to take odd jobs to make ends meet. She was to make her return in February of 2019, however, an ankle injury spoiled those plans. After being booked again the following April, Penne again was removed from the fight when tests found “an extremely low level of stanozolol” in her system.
“My heart sank,” Penne said. “After everything I had gone through by complying and staying quiet just to get my shot back, this happened. I had been tested so many times and had even tested clean days before this actual test was given.
“I knew this had to be a mistake or some form of contamination. What we thought was going to be an easy determination of cause turned out to be an emotional roller coaster and ended in disaster.”
The 36-year-old spent “thousands” to test her supplements and medications, and a lab in California discovered one of them did contain the banned substance in question. However, Penne reveals USADA has conducted their own tests with new samples,” and have determined that she was, again, in violation of the promotion’s anti-doping policy. This means Penne could be looking at a four-year suspension.
“At my age there is no way I can come back in four years,” Penne said. “At this point I am lost and defeated.”
What do you think about Penne’s statement on USADA?