BJ Penn Admits to Prohibited IV Use, Suspended by USADA

BJ Penn has had another set back in coming out of retirement to fight once again in the UFC.

The celebrated fighter with a history of an anti IV stance, has curiously admitted to USADA to using an IV in an out of competition setting.  Penn apparently admitted to having an IV administered during a USADA out of competition test administered in March.  The UFC released the following statement confirming that Penn has been provisionally suspended as a result of this admission:

“The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed BJ Penn of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation. Penn disclosed the usage of a prohibited method – the use of an IV in excess of 50 ML in a six-hour period – during a March 25, 2016, out-of-competition sample collection. In accordance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Penn has received a provisional suspension, and has been removed from his scheduled bout against Cole Miller on June 4 in Los Angeles.

“UFC will announce a replacement opponent for Miller shortly, and additional information will be provided by USADA and UFC at the appropriate time as the process involving Penn moves forward.”

It is unclear why Penn required or chose to use an IV.  Assuming it was for a legitamite and documented medical incident there is some hope he can have the use retroactively approved by USADA.

Of note, USADA has at least one precedent of handing out a retroactive TUE for IV use granting Floyd Mayweather this courtesy when he fought Manny Pacquiao.

Despite some ambiguity in the UFC/USADA Anti Doping Program, USADA has confirmed that athletes can indeed apply for retroactive TUE’s using WADA standards who have previously advised as follows on this issue:

Regarding your inquiry, the review process for the UFC program is identical to that of the Olympic program with respect to determining the medical need/appropriateness for the TUE. In both cases, the WADA international standards govern the criteria considered by the independent TUE Committee when taking in to account such requests.

The WADA TUE test is as follows –

a. The Athlete would experience a significant impairment to health if the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method were to be withheld in the course of treating an acute or chronic medical condition.

b. The Therapeutic Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method would produce no additional enhancement of performance other than that which might be anticipated by a return to a state of normal health following the treatment of a legitimate medical condition. The Use of any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method to increase “lownormal” levels of any endogenous hormone is not considered an acceptable Therapeutic intervention.

c. There is no reasonable Therapeutic alternative to the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method.

d. The necessity for the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method cannot be a consequence, wholly or in part, of the prior Use, without a TUE, of a substance or method which was prohibited at the time of Use.


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