UFC 170: Jessica Eye’s letter to the Texas board after her failed drug test

Jessica Eye's UFC 166 decision win over Sarah Kaufman was turned into a no contest following a failed drug test on Eye's part. She…

By: Nate Wilcox | 10 years ago
UFC 170: Jessica Eye’s letter to the Texas board after her failed drug test
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Jessica Eye’s UFC 166 decision win over Sarah Kaufman was turned into a no contest following a failed drug test on Eye’s part. She tested positive for marijuana metabolites. Her urine showed a level of 16 ng/ML. The threshhold for sanctions in Texas is 15 ng/ML. For reference in Nevada it’s 50 ng/ML.

MixedMartialArts.com submitted a FOIA request and got the letter that Eye wrote to the Texas Board of License and Regulation (what Texas has instead of an athletic commission). Here it is;November 22, 2013

Dear Mrs. Winston,

I am writing you today in regards to my recent test results from UFC 166 in Houston. I first wanted to thank you in advance for your time and for allowing me the opportunity to explain my position. As one of the few professional female athletes currently competing in the UFC, I can’t express you how upset and more than disappointed I am in myself for even being in this situation. I have worked extremely hard at my craft over the last 6 plus years to put myself in a position of influence where I really feel I can make a difference in not only our sport but beyond. I consider myself a role model and understand that as a professional athlete who is competing at the highest level of his or her sport, that I also have an obligation to be a leader and positive role model. The reason I tell you this is so you can understand how crushing this has been for me. Beyond the opportunity to make a living doing something I love to do, to me its more important to have the opportunity to continue to be a role model and affective people in a positive way.

Mrs. Winston, I assure you that I am not nor have I ever been the type of person to put anything unhealthy in body, let alone and illegal narcotic. In addition, I am well aware of the other athletes who have thrown away their careers over substance abuse issues and I could never understand how someone in that position would risk jeopardizing their career over drugs or alcohol.

I am not the type of person who makes excuses and can admit Im wring when Ive made a mistake. In this case, the mistake I made was trusting my family and not trusting my instincts sooner. From the time I was a teenager, my father and I have not been on the best of terms due to his own substance abuse issues which I was forced to move out of his home when I was a 18. As a young girl I saw the damage and destruction drugs and alcohol can cause and how it can tear a family apart. Well my family was not immune and unfortunately it took a very ugly incident recently to finally allow me to move forward with my life without my father.

Approximately 4 weeks or so prior to my UFC debut in Houston, I had decided to give my father another chance to get back into my life. As you can understand, I was very emotional leading up to my fight and was eager for any support I could get from family, friends and especially my father. After numerous apologies and attempts to make amends with me, I finally decided to give my father another chance and attend a family get together in my honor which he hosted at his residence, The get together involved mostly family members form his side along with many of my friends and even a few of my sponsors who had all come together to watch the fight the evening. What transpired that night , will be with me for my entire life and is what I feel may have led to the traces of marijuana that were found to be in my system.

Upon arrival at my fathers house, I noticed immediately that they had been drinking. Against my better judgment, I decided to stay and avoid another confrontation with my father especially with anyone else in attendance. As the evening progressed, the alcohol would eventually turn into marijuana. As my father and several of his friends began to smoke in the living room where we were watching the UFC, I politely asked him to stop smoking or id be forced to leave. Not only did he refuse, but he became irate and began to physically attack me in front of all of our guests. Luckily my friends and brother were able to separate us and get m out of there relative unharmed, but this would surely be one of the darkest and most humiliating moments of my life. Needless to say, I did not call the police in order to avoid this getting out in public as I knew I need to be distraction free heading into the biggest fight of my career. Looking back, I truly wish I would have filed a report not my benefit, but to share my story with others in hopers of stopping this from happening to even one other person. I sincerely feel this is what led to my test results as I have been around any other smokers for years prior to or since that night.

Mrs. Winston, I am not claiming to be completely innocent and realize I am in this position because of my actions. But I will tell you with all sincerity that I would never, ever gamble with my career or take for granted the opportunities I have in front of me. I would even ask you to contact Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato who Im confident will validate what I am writing you as far as my family history and this particular incident. Since then, ive actually gone public with my story and did an in depth interview with a reporter who went ahead and published an article about my relations with my father. Id be happy to forward this article to you upon request.

In closing, id like to thank you again for your time and consideration with this matter. Please get back to me or my manager Greg and let us know what the next step in the process will be. I am eager to put this behind me and start the next positive chapter of my life and what I hope will be a long career with the UFC.


Jessica Eye

Only a few days after Eye wrote this letter her father was diagnosed with cancer and the two reconciled. Here’s what she had to say to UFC.com following their reconciliation:

“Unfortunately, right before my UFC debut, we got into a really big fight and I didn’t let him come to the fight.

“The day before Thanksgiving, my dad was diagnosed with a tumor and he went directly into surgery,” recalled Eye. “He had a baseball-sized tumor removed from his brain on his right side, and it was something that went undetected for quite some time. They were saying it was probably growing there for a year. They were able to remove it, but unfortunately when they did the surgery, it did come back as malignant.”

“It is terminal,” said Jessica. “Very few people live past the 15 month mark that they’re given with the initial prognosis, but there is a lot of hope out there for a lot of alternative medicines. There’s a really cool story out there about a lady who is the only person to ever survive for 12 years, so I’m speaking out about her story and what she’s done, and a lot of it is about changing your diet and teaching your body to do the right things, so that’s where I step in as a fighter and an athlete who eats well. This next step we’re taking with my dad is to teach him how to eat.

“At first, it’s kind of surreal when they told us that it was a terminal illness,” she said. “We really didn’t believe it. We were like ‘no, we can beat it.’ I think that’s just who my dad is, and who I am, and who my brothers are. We just look at things like this where they tell us that we can’t, and we’re like, all right, we’re going to do everything we can to prove them wrong. But I had never seen my dad like this before. He was known to be a very hard-nosed, rough kind of man, and the person I’m seeing now since the diagnosis, it’s a complete change. He’s been very spiritual about the fact that he’s glad that he’s been given a second chance to try to make this better and help other people.”

Eye faces Alexis Davis at UFC 170 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

SBN coverage of UFC on FOX 10

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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