(Jessica Eye and her father Randy, after their reconciliation. / Photo via UFC.com)
When Jessica Eye steps into the cage against Alexis Davis at UFC 170 this weekend, the bantamweight contender will be doing so under the “probated suspension” that she caught after testing positive for marijuana metabolites following her split-decision win against Sarah Kaufman in October. Since then, Eye has done a dance of denial with the media — which hasn’t exactly made her any fans.
But to hear her tell it, Eye never smoked weed at all. In a letter she wrote to the Texas Board of License and Regulation back in November (obtained yesterday by MicxedMartialArts.com), Eye explained that she consumed trace amounts of marijuana from second-hand smoke at a family party that went from kinda-trashy to fully-traumatic, ending with her being roughed up by her own father. Here is Jessica’s tale of woe…
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.
Eye and her father Randy have since reconciled, after doctors discovered that he had terminal brain cancer. As she told UFC.com:
“I feel extremely guilty now and it really bothers me. Less than a month later (after the Kaufman fight), he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness and I don’t know when I’m fighting again and I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t know if he’s going to make it again and it’s been depressing in that aspect. I’m mad at myself for maybe not noticing things sooner myself, that maybe the reason why he was acting the way he was was because of the tumor. They even said that the tumor was changing his behavior and it was. He’s always kind of a testy person, but it was making him very aggravated and distant, and I couldn’t understand it. He just wasn’t the same. So when I got the news about it, it brought down my world a little bit and made me feel real bad about the way things went down before my big debut. I’m very hopeful that I’m going to be back in the Octagon soon enough that my dad will get to actually see me.”
So to summarize: Maybe Jessica Eye isn’t a weed-puffing liar, and maybe her dad isn’t the biggest asshole in the universe. It would have been nice if any of Jessica’s friends or sponsors hustled her out of the house as soon as people started sparking up, but what are you gonna do.