UFC bantamweight Raquel Pennington has been banned for six-months after reporting HERSELF to drug testers following a doctor prescription.
Pennington announced the news herself online that she had received a suspension from United States Anti-Doping Association, the UFC's drug testers.
She tested positive for the prohormone 7-keto-DHEA and the peptide AOD-9064 and self-reported the violation.
Pennington, 32, said both were prescribed to her by a doctor to treat a medical condition.
But, the substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC’s policy.
According to USADA officials, “after using the substances for a short period of time, she conducted research and learned that they were prohibited substances and immediately came forward about her use to USADA.”
Pennington initially faced a potential two-year sanction but was granted a reduced order.
USADA confirmed the decreased suspension was “based on her forthright declaration prior to sample collection and for her Full and Complete Cooperation".
Pennington joined the UFC in 2014, and has since had 12 fights with the promotion, including against Holly Holm, Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes.
She challenged for the banamtweight belt in 2018, losing to Brazilian UFC legend Nunes by knockout.
Pennington's last bout came in June, beating Marion Reneau to extend her record to 11-8.
The American denied cheating or purposely using performance enhancing drugs, and hopes her decision to come forward after recognising a mistake will prompt others to do so in the future.
Pennington wrote on social media: "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.
A post shared by Raquel Pennington (@raquel_pennington)
"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."
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