UFC Strawweight Jessica Penne Suspended 18 Months for Positive Steroid Test

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jan 5, 2018

Jessica Penne has been suspended 18 months after testing positive for an “anabolic androgenic steroid of exogenous origin,” USADA and the Tennessee Athletic Commission announced Friday.

The UFC strawweight’s failed test stems from an out-of-competition urine sample collected on March 20, 2017. Penne’s suspension is retroactive to April 23, 2017, the day after her most recent Octagon appearance.

The former Invicta FC titlist lost a unanimous decision to Danielle Taylor at UFC Fight Night 108 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on April 22. Penne was allowed to compete at the event because her sample initially came back negative. That changed upon further review. Per USADA:

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 was able to prove that her positive test resulted from the use of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an exogenous anabolic agent prescribed to her by her physician. While Penne was not able to obtain a retroactive therapeutic use exemption for DHEA, she received an 18-month sanction instead of two years because the substance was given to her under the care of a physician.

The 34-year-old Penne has only fought once per year since 2014. After defeating Randa Markos via split decision at “The Ultimate Fighter 20” finale in her Octagon debut, the Californian has dropped three straight promotional appearances.

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