Jessica Penne Releases Statement After Being Pulled from UFC Phoenix Hours Before Event

UFC Phoenix Jessica Penne
Credit: Dave Mandel/

After being pulled from UFC Phoenix at the eleventh hour, Jessica Penne has revealed that a sprained ankle is the culprit.

Jessica Penne expected to be in the octagon Sunday, part of UFC on ESPN 1. Instead, she was pulled from the event mere hours before she was expected to perform. Penne had been set to take on Jodie Esquibel at UFC Phoenix, as the card was more commonly known. The MMA Gods had other plans, however.

Penne (12–5), in the midst of a career-worst three fight losing streak, was injured just prior to the event, she explained Sunday. The UFC, in their official statement (which you can read below), did not release the cause of the injury.

“Due to injury, Jessica Penne has been removed from her Sunday bout against Jodie Esquibel,” the UFC announced Sunday. “The UFC Phoenix card, which airs on ESPN and is headlined by the heavyweight bout between Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou, will proceed as scheduled with 12 bouts.”

Shortly after, Penne revealed that she had rolled her ankle in warm-ups, spraining it.

“I don’t have a lot of words to describe my emotions at the moment,” she wrote via Instagram. “I want to apologize to my opponent @jodieesquibel and her camp for this fight not happening today. I’m truly very sorry Jodie. I went to do a small shakeout this morning and was working some basic drills when I rolled my ankle with the full weigh [sic] of my body and my training partners. I immediately iced it and was hoping that it wouldn’t be that bad but it became obvious very quickly that this was a bad sprain.”

“The ufc medical team along with Sean Shelby came to my room and the decision was made along with my team that I couldn’t fight,” Penne continued. “I have a grade 2 sprain and will know more after x-rays. I’m heart broken and I know Jodie must be as well. Hopefully Jodie and I can be rebooked ASAP. Thank you to everyone for the support, it means more than you know.”

The injury is a tough break for Penne, whose three-fight skid started with a failed title bid against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Worse, she fought just once in each of 2015, 2016, and 2017, and not at all last year.


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