The long and arduous battle between UFC fighter Jessica Penne and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has finally reached a conclusion. The drug testing program announced today that Penne has accepted a twenty month suspension for an out of competition drug test failure in April of 2019. Penne is going to be able to return to action in December of this year, since the suspension is retroactive to the date of the drug test failure.
USADA issued the following press release on the matter:
Jessica Penne Accepts Sanction for Second Violation of UFC Anti-Doping Policy
USADA announced today that Jessica Penne, of Chula Vista, Calif., accepted a 20-month sanction for her second anti-doping policy violation.
Penne, 36, tested positive at trace levels for two metabolites of stanozolol, 16β-hydroxystanozolol and 3′-hydroxystanozolol, as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on April 8, 2019. Stanozolol is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.
USADA determined that a reduction to the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility was appropriate in this case due to the totality of circumstances, including the complexity of issues, as well as Penne’s participation in discussions with USADA following her initial public comments in January. Furthermore, under the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA did not pursue an enhanced sanction for a second violation because USADA determined that Penne was not intending to cheat when she committed her first violation, as her use of the prohibited anabolic agent dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in a dietary supplement was based upon the recommendation of her physician related to a medical issue.
During its investigation – and in an effort to determine a relative time period of stanozolol ingestion that caused her positive test – USADA also requested that the laboratory re-analyze Penne’s out-of-competition sample previously reported negative from April 4, 2019. The laboratory was able to conduct targeted analysis on the April 4, 2019 sample and subsequently identified trace levels for one stanozolol metabolite also found in her April 8, 2019 sample. The supplements that Penne submitted for analysis did not test positive for stanozolol. Upon notification of her positive test, Penne obtained a third-party laboratory result showing that a medication was the source of the prohibited substance in her sample. However, through working with the third-party laboratory and the WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake City, USADA determined that the initial results from the third-party lab did not adequately establish a source of the positive test due to the lab’s testing protocol.
Penne’s 20-month period of ineligibility began on April 8, 2019, the date her positive sample was collected.
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. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA 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 playclean @usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.