On Monday, USADA handed down a six-month suspension to former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion BJ Penn.
Penn, who was scheduled to come out of retirement to fight Dennis Siver, and then Cole Miller, on the UFC 199 pay-per-view, was pulled from the event when it came to light that he had been flagged by USADA for a potential Anti-Doping Violation.
As the facts continued to come in, it became clear that Penn, who has been anti-PED for as long as anyone can remember, was not using any illegal substances, but instead was flagged for using an IV, which is against the policy.
USADA issued the following statement regarding Penn today:
USADA announced today that Jay Dee (“BJ”) Penn of Hilo, Hawaii, an athlete in the UFC, has accepted a 6-month sanction for an anti-doping policy violation for his use of a prohibited method.
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. 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).
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.
Penn’s period of ineligibility began on March 25, 2016, the date on which he admitted his anti-doping policy violation to USADA.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. The anti-doping program run by USADA for UFC athletes includes education, science and research, testing, and results management. Official UFC Anti-Doping Program information and athlete resources are available at UFC.USADA.org.