“Jefa” was on track to become the first ever Chilean woman to compete in the octagon at Saturday’s UFC event in Las Vegas. However, just a week before her debut, Gonzalez (13-5) was pulled from her bantamweight contest against Brazil’s Josiane Nunes and altogether removed from the UFC roster.
It was a bizarre situation that left many fans wondering what went wrong for Gonzalez, as she was shining in her career with seven consecutive wins and looking to test herself in the UFC.
“I’m not even sure what happened to tell you the truth,” Gonzalez said in Spanish when speaking with ESPN Chile. “Look, this fight was super short notice. Everything was very fast. They told me with the fight coming up (on short notice) and that meant I had to do a bunch of medial exams quickly – imaging, blood tests. Whenever you fight, you need many exams. I also had my passport expired, so I also needed to do that paperwork.
“I had to leave the gym a lot.”
It was in the chaos of getting all the prerequisites done for her first UFC fight that a visit by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency – the UFC’s anti-doping partner – marked the end of her UFC career before it could even start. The incident took place at her gym, which is in the same building and adjacent to her home in Santiago, Chile.
“So the way USADA works, which is the agency that controls anti-doping, they told me that I needed to have an agenda, a calendar of my location. But I didn’t take it too, too seriously. I wrote down that I was from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the gym. And it’s true, I’m always at the gym. I just needed to go out to do the exams and all that stuff – nothing else.
“So USADA got there exactly as I was arriving, and they were outside. The guys told me, ‘We’re from USADA.’ And I kind of couldn’t believe it like, ‘Here in Chile? It’s weird.’ I’ve fought MMA here in Chile, and I’ve never had to deal with anything like this. So I told them come over, just wait for me at the gym. The thing is that my house is next to the gym. They have the same entrance, just two different doors.
“I told them to wait for me as I put the truck in the garage and put away my dog, and I will be with you guys. The door (to my house) is a meter away. The guy tells me, ‘No, I can’t have you leave my sight.’ I told him, ‘If you come with me here, the dogs are going to get you.’ I have two Rottweilers. I asked him for two minutes, no more. I just needed to put away the dogs. The dogs are in the patio where I put in the truck. I asked him for just two minutes. So I told him, and I didn’t realize that the guy was getting upset. I opened the doors, I put away the dogs and came around to the gym. I also changed clothes because I was wearing something else.
“When I got there, they were gone. The had already gotten in an argument with Pablo (Villaseca), my partner and coach. They wanted to come in through the side where the dogs where, where I drove the truck in. When Pablo got off the truck, they didn’t tell them who they were. They just said, ‘We’re going to sanction Jennifer because she’s hiding.’”
Gonzalez said the workers from USADA never showed her identification. Once she went inside her house, USADA workers argued with her partner, Villaseca, who’s a former Bellator fighter and cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3.”
“They didn’t tell Pablo they were from USADA,” Gonzalez said. “I also didn’t tell him anything because I was just trying to do everything quickly. There’s always people at the gym, but entering through the side of the house is not normal. And then you have the guy trying to enter in an aggressive way, that’s even less normal – to have someone show up to your house with an aggressive and bossy attitude.”
Gonzalez didn’t share details on what exactly was said between Villaseca and the USADA workers.
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The 35-year-old is heartbroken about her release from the UFC as it was a dream to fight in the octagon.
“Yeah, I was upset, very upset,” Gonzalez said. “I never asked them for anything. I never asked the sport anything because I know it doesn’t give anything. It was time. Everything I’ve won has been on my own, and I’ve never had issues. I’ve fought in other countries. I’ve always been clean. And now this happens, and it happens in Chile – from a Chilean to another Chilean.”