UFC strawweight Jessica Penne is currently facing the most important fight of her career, but she doesn’t have to tackle it alone.
The Ultimate Fighter 20 alumn recently revealed she had tested positive for picogram amounts of stanozolol, her second USADA drug testing violation that could result in a four year suspension. According to Penne, she spent thousands of dollars testing medications and supplements and managed to track down the supplement that caused the drug failure. But when she presented her findings to USADA, she found herself rebuffed by the drug testing organization. ‘Too bad, so sad’ seems to be the gist of their response. ‘Please accept this lengthy suspension.’
A suspension, Penne argues, that effectively ends her fighting career.
Penne is not the first fighter to find themselves in this situation and she certainly won’t be the last. USADA seems to catch more cases of inadvertent contamination than actual cheaters. It’s hard to know for sure, considering anyone can cry contamination when caught. But as for their imperfect record stopping legit cheating, I like to point to TJ Dillashaw. Former teammate Cody Garbradnt claims TJ was using EPO for ages, but the former bantamweight champ only got caught four years into the USADA testing program.
USADA even acknowledged trace contamination was nearly impossible to avoid when they made changes to their program allowing leniency in cases where ‘certified supplements’ were found to be contaminated. Alas, the specific caveats added didn’t cover Penne, so she’s going to have to go through USADA’s slow and expensive arbitration process.
To that end, her manager Brian Butler has set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the costs arbitration incurs.
Fun fact: It costs a UFC fighter $2500 to file a request for arbitration.
We imagine the whole process is full of fun facts and fees like this. So if you’d like to help Jessica Penne get through this with a bit less financial difficulty, consider contributing to the GoFundMe.
Here’s the pitch on the donation page:
We are setting up this campaign on behalf of our client, Jessica Penne. Jessica is a UFC strawweight who has been wrongly suspended for the last 3 years by USADA for claims that are proven invalid. She served the suspension but again has been accused of a violation in which her along with the help of the UFC have found to be a mistake. She spent all of her remaining savings on the testing of products to fight and prove her innocence which paid off (as the tests came back in her favor). She now has all of the paperwork that proves her innocence but is left in the position to have to fight USADA head on in court. This campaign is set up to help raise the money to cover the legal fees and save her career before its to late. From her team here at SuckerPunch Entertainment we thank everyone for their support and we are ready to fight this and get her back in competition.
As of Sunday night, the GoFundMe has raised over $5000, but it’s still got a ways to go to hit the $40,000 goal.