In a lengthy Instagram post spanning several pages, UFC fighter Jessica Penne has lashed out at USADA over a new four-year ban that she fears is injustly going to end her career.
Penne, a former Invicta FC atomweight champion and UFC strawweight title contender, had previously been suspended by USADA for 18 months after testing positive for trace amounts of steroids back in 2017, though she claimed she “did not knowingly break the rules.”
Upon her return in early 2019, Penne was hoping to bounce back from a three fight losing streak when she took on Josie Esquibel, but she was forced to pull out on the day of the fight due to a freak ankle injury and then also withdrew from the rescheduled fight for unknown reasons.
“The reason I was pulled was because of an extremely low level of stanozolol was found was found in my system (picogram levels),” Penne revealed on Instagram. “My heart sank… after everything I had gone through by complying and staying quite (sic) just to get my shot back, this happened.”
The 37-year-old Penne says she spent thousands trying to prove her innocence, but USADA has now confirmed they intend to ban her for four years and the fighter claims to now be “broke, defeated and heartbroken” at the prospect of her career being over.
USADA have since responded to Penne’s claims and have stated that there are “factual inaccuracies” in her statement, while also adding that she’s now going to an independent arbitrator to try and fight the charges against her.
“Given Jessica Penne’s public statement, we can confirm her positive test for stanozolol. However, there are many factual inaccuracies and unfounded allegations in her statement, nicluding that she has been forced out of UFC. In fact, she has exercised her right to contest her case before an independent arbitrator, per a request USADA received after she released her public statement. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all athletes have the right to present the facts and circumstances during a full evidentiary hearing. We look forward to the opportunity to present the facts and evidence through this process.”