Former UFC strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne will be sidelined for much of 2018 after USADA handed the 34-year-old an 18-month suspension.
Penne was first flagged by USADA back in March for an out-of-competition sample that showed variance from her biological passport blueprint. While they investigated, Penne (12-5) fought Danielle Taylor, losing via decision.
The defeat was her third consecutive setback, a slide that started with a 2015 third round TKO loss to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Penne’s last win came in 2014 when she scored a split decision over Randa Markos.
Penne will be cleared to return in October, as the suspension started back in April.
Below is the complete statement from USADA:
USADA and the Tennessee Athletic Commission announced today that UFC® athlete Jessica Penne, of Chula Vista, Calif., has accepted an 18-month sanction for an anti-doping policy violation after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
Penne, 34, tested positive for the presence of an anabolic androgenic steroid of exogenous origin following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on March 20, 2017. Exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids are classified as non-Specified Substances in the category of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the Tennessee Athletic Commission Act of 2016, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Although Penne’s sample was initially reported as negative for prohibited substances on the standard out-of-competition testing menu, upon review of Penne’s Athlete Biological Passport, the sample was subsequently flagged for additional analysis due to an increased degree of variability in urinary biomarkers measured in the sample. Sophisticated carbon isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analysis confirmed the presence of a synthetic anabolic agent in Penne’s sample. Before the reanalysis of her sample was completed, Penne fought at the UFC Fight Night event in Nashville on April 22, 2017, an event sanctioned by the Tennessee Athlete Commission.
Upon notification of her positive test, Penne immediately identified a supplement she was using at the direction of her physician as the source of the prohibited substance detected in her sample. After a thorough review of the case, including the examination of medical records provided by the athlete, USADA and the Tennessee Athletic Commission accepted Penne’s explanation that her positive test was caused by dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an exogenous anabolic agent, which had been recommended to her by her physician.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete’s period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased if the athlete lacks significant fault for the anti-doping policy violation. In this instance, although Penne was not successful in her attempt to obtain a retroactive or prospective Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for DHEA after her positive test, it was determined that her degree of fault was reduced because her use of the prohibited substance was under the care of a physician. Accordingly, Penne received a corresponding reduction to 18-months from the standard two-year period of ineligibility for a non-Specified Substance under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Penne’s 18-month period of ineligibility began on April 23, 2017, the day following her most recent competition.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://ufc.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://ufc.globaldro.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts.
USADA also makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at [email protected], by phone at 1‑877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.