Raquel Pennington Suspended By USADA For Six Months

Published 01/29/2021, 11:02 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 18: Raquel Pennington enters the octagon in her bantamweight fight during the UFC 246 event at T-Mobile Arena on January 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Raquel Pennington has faced an unexpected setback in her career as a UFC Bantamweight fighter. The former title-contender will have to sit on the sidelines for the next 6 months after being suspended by USADA for using a banned substance. However, her case is a lot more cut and dry than others.

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Pennington was prescribed two banned substances by a doctor, unbeknownst to her. However, she further enquired and found out that those substances were indeed banned and reported it to USADA herself.

For self-reporting the error, USADA has given her a 6-month ban for something that would get her banned for 2 years.

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The name of the banned substances were prohormone 7-keto-DHEA and peptide AOD-9064. She was prescribed these for a non-fighting related medical issue.

Her self-reporting of the issue has set a good precedent which may encourage other fighters to not be caught up in 2-year litigation battles over unintentional doping.

Raquel Pennington: Hitch in her career?

Pennington is 32-years old and was rising back up the division. Her suspension is retroactive to November 17th, 2020 so she could return by May this year. However, her future in the division may still be cloudy after that.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 18: Raquel Pennington is in the cage before taking on Holly Holm during their bantamweight bout at UFC246 at T-Mobile Arena on January 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Pennington had not signed on for any fight and was yet to be booked. Her UFC record isn’t the best, but she did challenge for the Bantamweight title in 2018.

She was promptly knocked out by Amanda Nunes in that fight. It doesn’t look like she will be rising back up to championship status anytime soon.

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However, one more win could help Pennington break into the Top-5 and genuinely consider making another title push. While she will be outmatched against Nunes, if she still is the champion, it will be a nice story for her.

This suspension could have sidelined her till November 2022, so everyone is lucky that she caught on to the issue before it came back in one of her drug tests.

Whether this encourages other fighters to follow similar measures is not clear, but USADA has set a good precedent. Giving her a retroactive punishment with little impact on her career is best for both parties here.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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