Former UFC women’s strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne has fallen on hard times of late and things may even get worse for the veteran heading into the new year.
Penne, 36, is currently battling United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a violation that would sideline her for four years. It’s an incredibly amount of time, especially for a veteran who hasn’t competed since April 2017.
While Penne has been a professional fighter for over 13 years and has experienced all the ups and downs the sport of MMA has to offer, her recent string of bad luck is one for the ages. It all started back in May of 2017 when Penne was informed she tested positive for anabolic steroids during an out-of-competition drug test that screened her biological passport. Penne professed her innocence but ultimately had to serve the suspension from the sidelines.
Once cleared to compete, Penne was booked to fight Jodie Esquibel at UFC on ESPN+ 8 in Sunrise, Florida. Penne was eventually removed from the bout and replaced by veteran fighter Angela Hill. The reason for Penne’s withdrawal was originally traced back to an ankle injury suffered in training, but now it seems like there’s more to the story.
“The reason I was pulled was because of an extremely low level of stanozolol was found in my system (picogram levels),” wrote Penne in a passionate Instagram post earlier today (shown below). “My heart sank… after everything I had gone through by complying and staying quite (sic) just to get my shot back, this happened.”
Considering this would be Penne’s second offense she would be subject to a four-year suspension under USADA rule. The veteran fighter believed she’d be able to clear her name from her most recent issue, as she spent thousands of dollars of her own money to test medications and supplements for contamination, but it seems as if USADA’s own testing confirmed the violation and has Penne starring down a lengthy absence from fighting.
“I am heartbroken and defeated,” wrote Penne. “USADA has effectively bullied and forced me into retiring from MMA.”
“At my age there is no way I can come back in four years,” she later added. “At this point I am lost and defeated.”
While USADA and UFC have yet to make an official statement on the matter, that should change in the coming days. And if this happens to play out the way Penne fears, we may never see the former UFC title challenger compete inside of the Octagon again.
Stick with Mania for ongoing updates on the situation.