Former UFC strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne believes her fighting career is over, and she’s placing the blame for her early retirement squarely on the shoulders of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Penne opened up on her complicated situation with USADA, the UFC’s official anti-doping partner, in a lengthy and emotional statement posted to Instagram.
“I am heartbroken and defeated,” Penne wrote. “USADA has effectively bullied and forced me into retiring from MMA.”
Penne continued, explaining how this ordeal began when an over the counter medication caused her to test positive and be suspended by USADA for a whopping 18 months. During that time, she went broke, and even had to work as a Lyft driver to make ends meet. To remind, this is a former UFC world title challenger we’re talking about.F
From there, Penne recounted how her long-awaited return to the cage was derailed by yet another drug-testing issue. She claims the levels of the banned substance that turned up on her test were so minimal they were measured in picograms.
“My heart sank,” Penne wrote. “I had been tested so many times and even tested clean days before this test was actually given. I knew this had to be a mistake or some form of contamination.”
Penne continued, explaining how her efforts to identify the cause of her failed test turned out to be an “emotional roller coaster” that “ended in disaster.”
“I spent thousands of dollars I didn’t have testing medications and supplements (most of which were 3rd party certified that the UFC PI gave me),” she wrote.
Ultimately, Penne says the lab she was she was working with identified the source of the banned substance in question. Unfortunately, she says this “was not enough for USADA.”
From there, Penne claims USADA retested the supplements and medication she was using, and discovered yet another violation, which resulted in a mind-boggling four-year suspension.
“At my age, there is no way I can come back in 4 years,” the 36 year old wrote. “At this point I am lost and defeated.”
Penne then targeted a USADA representative named Nadia [Soghomonian], who she says called her “not pleasant” because she got emotional during one of “multiple interrogations.” According to Penne, Soghomonian told her she would get the full four-year ban unless she informed on other fighters.
“At this point I lost all hope and respect for the USADA program” she wrote.
Penne claims that Soghomonian and USADA have asked her to sign a deal agreeing to the full, four-year ban, but assures that she and her management have decided to refrain.
“I am innocent,” she wrote in bold text.
What do you make of this unfortunate situation involving Jessica Penne?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/10/2020.