Raquel Pennington Suspended 6 Months After Self-Reporting Prescribed Medication

UFC bantamweight fighter Raquel Pennington has released a statement announcing an upcoming USADA suspension after self-reporting a medication she says was prescribed by her doctor for a thyroid condition.

Pennington shared the announcement with the intention of being transparent, revealing that she chose to report the medications after taking them for some time and realizing that they were prohibited under USADA rules.

I wanted you to hear this from me first. This morning, USADA will be announcing a violation I committed of the UFC anti-doping policy.

Here are the facts. I went to my physician about a medical condition I was experiencing and was prescribed several medications to treat the condition. Unfortunately, I took the medications for a brief period of time, before realizing I should have checked on their status under the program. I soon discovered that these medications may be prohibited, so I immediately stopped taking the medication and contacted the UFC to report this potential issue.

I want to make it very clear that there was nothing that forced me to report this to UFC, and ultimately USADA. No one knew about this except myself and my physician and USADA had not collected a sample from me since I started the medications. This was simply me realizing a potential mistake and wanting to do the right thing. As USADA’s forthcoming statement will show, I fully cooperated with them and provided them with 100% honesty. I was not trying to cheat, skirt the rules or trying to gain a performance advantage. I was simply trying to treat a medical condition and made the mistake of not timely checking the status of these medications.

I want to apologize to all of my fans and publicly make the commitment that I will be much more careful in the future and not let this happen again. I hope that I can serve as a role model in showing that we all make mistakes, but it is what you do after realizing those mistakes that define your true character. I believe that my actions shown in these events show everyone what I am made of, and while I regret making this mistake, I am proud of how I handled this and hope that you are of me as well. Thank you for your understanding and your support. #TeamRocky #BeBackInMay

The subsequent USADA statement confirmed that Pennington had self-reported the violation and added that she would receive a reduced suspension time due to her decision to come forward.

“Pennington, 32, self-reported the use of two prohibited substances – 7-keto-DHEA and AOD-9064 – to USADA on November 17, 2020. As the result of the declaration, USADA collected an out-of-competition urine sample from Pennington, and subsequent analysis was consistent with her declared use of 7-keto-DHEA. 7-keto-DHEA (7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone) is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and AOD-9064 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics. Both substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.”

In the comments of her Instagram post announcing the news, Pennington clarified that she’d been taking the medication due to a thyroid issue she says she’s been battling for the past three years. Fellow UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff also offered her support, saying, “Sucks, my entire pregnancy and delivery and trips back to the hospital due to infections after giving birth I was scared. Imagine also having to worry about what a DOCTOR is going to give you to HELP you while dealing with all that.”

Pennington will be eligible to fight again in May following a six-month suspension from the day she reported the violation and a sample was collected on November 17, 2020.


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