Jessica Penne given 18 month suspension for UFC Anti-Doping Violation

January 5, 2018

Jessica Penne has accepted an 18-month suspension from USADA after testing positive for an unspecified steroid.

The issue occurred from an out-of-competition urine test on March 20, 2017.  She tested positive for an “anabolic androgenic steroid of exogenous origin.”

Penne’s testing leads one to wonder why there was not an appeal in this matter:

Although Penne’s sample was initially reported as negative for prohibited substances on the standard out-of-competition testing menu, upon review of Penne’s Athlete Biological Passport, the sample was subsequently flagged for additional analysis due to an increased degree of variability in urinary biomarkers measured in the sample. Sophisticated carbon isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analysis confirmed the presence of a synthetic anabolic agent in Penne’s sample. Before the reanalysis of her sample was completed, Penne fought at the UFC Fight Night event in Nashville on April 22, 2017, an event sanctioned by the Tennessee Athlete Commission.

Penne identified a supplement that she was to use at the direction of her physician which she believed was the source of the prohibited substance.  Despite identifying the source and accepting the explanation that the supplement was prescribed by a doctor, she was still assessed the 18-month suspension which is a reduction from the 2 year sentence given to most first-time offenders.

Payout Perspective:

One might argue that the suspension is against the belief that mitigating circumstances usually would knock down the length of suspension.  Jeff Novitsky stated this on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast when talking about Jon Jones.  Here, it seems for Penne, a first-time offender, was not given the benefit of the doubt considering her legitimate reason.  The prescribed medication from a legitimate physician should have some semblance of credibility for USADA to take into consideration.  Reducing the suspension to where it is still over a year seems egregious.

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