UFC women's strawweight Jessica Penne announced Friday in a lengthy Instagram post that she's retiring from mixed martial arts due to her dealings with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
"I am heartbroken and defeated. USADA has effectively bullied and forced me into retiring from MMA," she wrote.
In January 2018, the USADA suspended Penne 18 months for a failed drug test she claims was caused by a doctor-prescribed medication. She was then booked to fight in April 2019 but was pulled from the bout after "extremely low" levels of Stanozolol, a synthetic steroid, were found in her system, she says.
Penne is now facing the specter of a four-year suspension.
The 36-year-old added that there's no way she can come back in four years at her age. However, she's still fighting to clear her name.
"I am innocent! I don't know where I go from here," Penne wrote.
"At this point, USADA has held me from making a career and income for the last three years and I am ashamed to say I am broke, defeated, and heartbroken."
The USADA later refuted Penne's claims in a statement.
"Given Jessica Penne's public statement, we can confirm her positive test for stanozolol," USADA officials said. "However, there are many factual inaccuracies and unfounded allegations in her statement, including that she has been forced out of UFC.
"In fact, she has exercised her right to contest her case before an independent arbitrator, per a request USADA received after she released her public statement. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all athletes have the right to present the facts and circumstances during a full evidentiary hearing. We look forward to the opportunity to present the facts and evidence through this process."
Penne said her manager will start a GoFundMe fundraiser in hopes of covering the costs to hire a lawyer and fight the USADA in court.
The veteran fighter owns a 12-5 record. After winning her first UFC bout in 2014, she's lost three straight and hasn't competed since April 2017.