Jessica Penne has been handed an 18-month suspension from USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) after testing positive for a banned substance from an out of competition sample collected on Mar. 20, 2017.
USADA officials announced the news on Friday.
Penne tested positive “for the presence of an anabolic androgenic steroid of exogenous origin”.
“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,” USADA officials said in a press release.
“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 lost that night by unanimous decision to Danielle Taylor.
After she was notified of the violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy, Penne immediately identified the supplement that she was taking as directed by her physician that contained the banned substance.
USADA officials investigated Penne’s claims and validated that her positive drug test was caused by DHEA, an exogenous anabolic agent, that had been recommended to her by a physician. Penne then applied for a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption but was denied.
Still, USADA officials opted to reduce Penne’s sentence from a possible two-year sanction down to 18 months for her violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Penne’s suspension was made retroactive to April 23, 2017, which was one day after her fight at UFC Fight Night in Tennessee, which means she will be eligible to return to action after Oct. 23, 2018.