Jessica Penne isn’t counting on being able to continue her fighting career.
Penne has competed under the UFC banner and even challenged for the promotion’s strawweight title at some point. Penne has certainly seen better days, however. She’s currently dealing with USADA, the official drug testing partner of the UFC. Penne was flagged for dehydroepiandrosterone back in March 2017. She received an 18-month suspension. Now, Penne could be sidelined up to four years due to a second infraction.
Jessica Penne Issues Statement On USADA Ordeal
In her first USADA run-in, Penne was able to have her sanction reduced after proving that she was using a substance approved by a physician. This time, however, Penne thinks her fighting career could be over. Here’s her statement posted on Instagram.
“To all my fans, I am not even sure how to start this or go about addressing this to everyone… I am heart broken and defeated. USADA has effectively bullied and forced me into retiring from MMA. About 3 years ago I was advised by my doctor to start an over the counter medication that would balance out my extremely deficient hormone levels. I followed the rules to the best of my knowledge and even had prescribed medications rejected when I was informed they violated the stipulations of USADA.
With USADA being new to me and most everyone in the UFC at the time, my naivety thought that having a doctors note/recommendation for a simple ‘over the counter product’ would be safe to take… turns out it wasn’t and I was banned from fighting for 18 months… I was upset because I did not knowingly break the rules but I took ownership, kept my mouth shut and served my sentence. During this time I was repeatedly tested and I was clean on everything. This incident was a wake up call which made me hyper paranoid about everything I put in my body because the stigma of being thought of as a cheater is humiliating and something that goes deep to my core beliefs that I couldn’t be tied to.
I went broke during this time and embarrassingly had to do anything I could to make ends meet… I drove for Lyft, taught privates and anything I could to get by. Finally when I had served the sanction, all I wanted to do was get back to fighting. I was booked to fight in February of 2019 when I suffered a sprained ankle warming up the day of the fight… I couldn’t believe this happened, I felt like I was cursed. The UFC was gracious enough to rebook me in April.”
USADA has yet to release an official response.