'Happy' BJ Penn 'excited' for even playing field with UFC testing of HGH and EPO

Mark Nolan

At the same time, "The Prodigy" is sad that it came at the expense of his friend Chael Sonnen's two failed drug tests.

On the heels of the news that Chael Sonnen had failed a second consecutive drug test, B.J. Penn had a smile on his face.

No, "The Prodigy" isn't elated that "The American Gangster" got caught -- they're actually good friends -- but because athletic commissions are now testing for human growth hormone (HGH) and erythropoietin (EPO); the two banned substances Sonnen tested positive for back on June 5, 2014.

For Penn -- who takes on Frankie Edgar on July 6, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale -- this is a long time coming, as he has often suspected that steroids weren't the only drug of choice for fighters competing in mixed martial arts (MMA).

Penn spoke about it during the recent UFC 175/TUF 19 teleconference (audio replay).

Check it out:

"I am really excited that they can test for the HGH and the EPO. I've always suspected that people were doing those things and not just a steroid. So it's very exciting and very gratifying to finally see that the playing field is...people are going to start thinking twice about what they put in their bodies and the playing field will be much more equal. And that's just huge."

As for Sonnen's recent positive results, "Baby J" says it's hard to see his buddy go through this ordeal, but says at the end of the day, it's all about making the sport safer and better.

He explains:

"Chael Sonnen is actually a personal buddy of mine, and it's sad to see what Chael Sonnen is going through. But if you want to talk about the future of the sport, the safety of the fighters, I've always spoke out against it. I'm so excited now that they can get the HGH and the EPO. That's just, that put a smile on my face."

After initially failing a drug test for having Anastrozole and Clomiphene in his system prior to his proposed bout against Vitor Belfort at UFC 175, Sonnen decided it was time to call it a career.

Penn, meanwhile, was never shy when it came to voicing his opinion on fighters who he thought weren't exactly playing fair, namely former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

For the record, "Rush" never failed a drug test and was actually leading the crusade for stiffer testing prior to his departure.

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