UFC Bantamweight Raquel Pennington Accepts Six Month USADA Sanction After Self-Reporting Use of Banned Substances

Raquel Pennington, UFC
Raquel Pennington, UFC 246 Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC women’s bantamweight and former title challenger Raquel Pennington will be on the sidelines a little longer. Pennington (11-8), who last competed in June, where she picked up a win over Marion Reneau, has been handed a six month suspension by USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency).

The sanction comes after Pennington self-reported use of two banned substances, 7-keto-DHEA and AOD-9064. Both were prescribed to the fighter by a doctor to treat an undisclosed medical condition. However, after taking the medicine, Pennington did further research, only to discover both substances were prohibited under the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

Pennington then contacted USADA to inform them of the circumstances.

As a result of her declaration, Pennington received a reduction in her sanction, bringing it down to six months. That will be backdated to November 17, 2020, the date she declared her use of the substances in question.

In conjunction with a press release from USADA Thursday, Pennington also revealed the news on social media.

“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,” Pennington began. “Unfortunately, I took the medications for a brief period of time before realizing I should have checked on their status under the [UFC Anti-Doping] 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.”

Pennington went on to state that she fully cooperated with USADA. “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 future and not let this happen again,” she continued, adding that she hopes she can serve as a role model in “showing that we all make mistakes, but it is what you do after realizing those mistakes that defines your true character.”

Pennington has posted a 2-2 record since her loss to Amanda Nunes for the UFC women’s bantamweight title at UFC 224 in 2018. She does not currently have a fight scheduled.