Jessica Penne shuts down GoFundMe campaign, is ‘close’ to reaching an agreement with USADA

Jessica-Penne
PhotoCred: Getty Images

UFC fighter Jessica Penne has closed her GoFundMe campaign after finalising an agreement with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to avoid legal fees on her pending case.

On Wednesday February 5, Penne’s Manager Brian Butler suspended her GoFundMe campaign which was set up to help the strawweight raise money for an arbitration hearing against the anti-doping organization USADA.

Penne previously tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid and banned USADA substance. However, the detection was at “picogram” level. Penne has maintained her innocence and believes the positive test was the result of a contamination.

As a result, the veteran fighter had her medication tested by a third party. The result found stanozolol in a “sealed/unopened box labelled Aftera,” commonly known as the morning-after pill.

Penne’s manager at Sucker Punch Entertainment explained to MMA fighting why they have closed their campaign.

“We will be closing the campaign today. We have been working with UFC and our legal team diligently and it looks like USADA and our legal team are close to reaching an outcome that will avoid the full costs of arbitration.

“We want to thank everyone for their donations because without it we wouldn’t have been able to get us this far! We will keep you posted on the developments as they come but do not want people to keep donating at this time. Thank you all so much for your support of Jessica!”

The campaign was shut after $7500 was raised, but the campaign sought to raise $40,000 in legal fees. If she can not effectively appeal her ban, Penne will experience a four-year suspension from the sport. At 37-years old, Penne acknowledges that a four-year ban would effectively mean an early retirement from fighting

All athletes that compete under the UFC banner are afforded an adjudication with USADA following a potential doping violation case that can lead to arbitration. The process, however, is significantly costly and fighters are held responsible for any fees incurred.

In the ongoing case with Jessica Penne, it appears her team have negotiated a middle ground which can shine some light on her fighting future. However, the case is still ongoing.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/7/2020.