B.J. Penn releases statement on UFC 199 removal: “I had no idea that IV use was banned 365 days a year”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

B.J. Penn (photo credit Stephen R. Sylvanie © USAToday Sports)

B.J. Penn released a statement late Monday night via his personal website, addressing his removal from next week’s UFC 199 event due to a USADA violation over the use of an IV. Penn claims ignorance to the USADA rules on IV use, and is adamant that he used no performance enhancing drugs.

“I voluntarily disclosed to USADA that during a non-fight period that I had an IV administered under the care of a doctor,” Penn’s statement read. ‘The rule for IV usage had changed since my last fight in the UFC and was unaware of the change and voluntarily disclosed the information to USADA. I had no idea that IV use was banned 365 days a year.

“At no time in my career in martial arts have I ever doped and anticipate all test results from USADA will come back clean and will be working with the UFC to get the matter cleared up and return to fight as soon as possible.”

Penick’s Analysis: As Penn’s removal is due to a “potential” violation, there’s still a process to go through which could wind up in him facing no sanctions at all, or at least relatively minor sanctions the likes of which Yoel Romero received upon appeal. Still, it means any potential return is delayed even further, after sexual assault allegations forced the UFC to pull him from UFC 197 in April already. Penn’s case also isn’t helped by some of his previous comments regarding IV use as it relates to weight cutting, as he came out in favor of the ban last summer, apparently unaware of USADA’s other reasoning for its ban. Now, that’s not to say USADA is necessarily in the right, and pulling someone due to doctor-directed IV use weeks before a bout seems draconian, but the UFC brought situations like this on themselves by not having any fighter input into how these processes would play out.

[Photo (c) Stephen R. Sylvanie via USA Today Sports]

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