USADA Hands BJ Penn a Six-Month Suspension for IV Ban Violation

June 27, 2016

UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn has accepted a six-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Penn had planned to return to the Octagon opposite Cole Miller at UFC 199 in June, but was flagged by USADA for violating the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy. During a March out-of-compeitition drug screen, the Hawaiian admitted to an intravenous infusion that violated the policy. Penn later issued a statement saying that he wasn’t aware at the time of the infusion that it was a violation.

“I voluntarily disclosed to USADA that during a non-fight period that I had an IV administered under the care of a doctor,” read Penn’s statement on his official site,

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“The rule for IV usage had changed since my last fight in the UFC and I was unaware of the change and voluntarily disclosed the information to USADA. I had no idea that IV use was banned 365 days a year.

“At no time in my career in martial arts have I ever doped and anticipate all test results from USADA will come back clean and will be working with the UFC to get the matter cleared up and return to fight as soon as possible.”

USADA on Monday announced that Penn has accepted a six-month sanction for the anti-doping policy violation for his use of a prohibited method.

BJ Penn UFC 94“During an out-of-competition test on March 25, 2016, Penn declared the use of an intravenous infusion of a non-prohibited substance. A subsequent investigation by USADA revealed that the intravenous infusion received by Penn was administered in a volume greater than 50 mL within a 6 hour period,” read a USADA statement, explaining the violation. “Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, intravenous infusions in a volume greater than 50 mL within a 6 hour period are prohibited, except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures or clinical investigations. Intravenous infusions received in any other setting require an approved Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).”

Although he could have been issued a two-year suspension for a first time violation using prohibited methods, Penn’s voluntary admission of the violation and his cooperation with USADA played heavily in his favor, leading to a reduction in the duration of his suspension.

“Penn, 37, voluntarily disclosed his use of the intravenous infusion and fully cooperated with USADA’s investigation into the circumstances regarding his violation. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the standard period of ineligibility may be reduced due to an individual’s voluntary admission of a violation and/or pursuant to an analysis of the individual’s degree of fault for the violation. Here, after taking both of those factors into consideration, USADA determined that a 6-month period of ineligibility was an appropriate sanction under the rules for Penn’s violation,” read USADA’s statement.

Penn’s period of ineligibility began on March 25, 2016, the date on which he admitted his anti-doping policy violation to USADA. He will be eligible to return to the Octagon on September 25.

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