In an extremely lengthy, and heartfelt message, UFC fighter Jessica Penne announced today that she is likely done with professional mixed martial arts competition due to a possible four-year ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). As a result, the SuckerPunch Entertainment managed fighter is considering a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with a legal battle that could reach in excess of $40,000.
The 36-year-old strawweight fighter outlined a series of events that has kept her sidelined since an April 2017 loss to Danielle Taylor at UFC Fight Night 108.
Initially doctors prescribed her an over the counter medication to help balance deficient hormone levels.
A pre-fight drug test administered before the fight was initially reported as negative but because the World Anti-Doping Association was using methods to determine when someone is “doping” rather detecting the source or method, Penne was suspended 18-months. She was suspended because of something a physician prescribed her.
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As a result of her suspension and inability to bring in income, Penne took up other work, even becoming a Lyft driver.
She was set to return against Jodie Esquibel at UFC on ESPN 1 in February 2019. Penne injured her ankle the day of the fight while warming up and was forced to reschedule the contest to April 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 8 in Florida. She would ultimately pull out of the rescheduled contest as well.
“The reason I was pulled was because of an extremely low level of stanozolol was found was found in my system (picogram levels),” Penne wrote on her post. “My heart sank… after everything I had gone through by complying and staying quite (sic) just to get my shot back, this happened.”
Penne spent a great deal of her own money having medications and supplements tested, event stating “most of which were 3rd party certified that the UFC PI gave me.”
USADA officials later informed Penne that independent testing they conducted found different results, and that they planned on handing her a second violation, which under new rules would mean a mandatory four-year suspension from competition.
The suspension would last until 2023 and Penne would then be 40 years of age.