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Morning Report: B.J. Penn not closing door on career, could return at 155 pounds

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC President Dana White may want B.J. Penn to retire, but the former two-division champ isn't ready to make it that easy.

Penn, who White recently referred to as "too tough for his own good" hasn't yet closed the door on his career, according to a report from's Ariel Helwani made on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight.

The 34-year-old legend last fought at UFC on FOX 5, losing to Rory MacDonald in a brutally lopsided three-round decision. Since then Penn underwent surgery to repair damage caused by cataracts in his eye, while White publicly voiced his belief that the Hawaiian needs to hang up his gloves.

"B.J. might not be knocked out, but the shots B.J. took would've knocked out a normal human being," White said. "He's had his head bounced off the canvas like a basketball by Matt Hughes, by Georges St-Pierre and then Rory (MacDonald) just did it to him. B.J. Penn has left that octagon looking like a f--king alien.

"You don't knock out B.J. Penn. B.J. Penn absorbs every amount of punishment you can give him. Doesn't mean he hasn't taken damage. He's taken a lot of damage, and I don't want to see him take anymore."

Regardless, Penn has apparently been hitting the gym once more to test whether or not his body -- and sanity -- can mount one last comeback. The good news, though? If Penn does elect to return, he'll do so at 155 pounds, a weight division much more suited to his 5'9" frame.

Since re-signing with the UFC in 2006, Penn is just 1-5-1 at welterweight. While in that same time, he's 5-2 at lightweight, with his only two losses coming at the hands of Frankie Edgar. That's a massive disparity, so it goes without saying that if Penn decides he still has that itch, the only way he should scratch should be at lightweight, if only for health's sake.

And with that, let's get to today's headlines.



Rampage signs. A day after teasing "big news," former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA. The contract, similar to the one Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal signed in 2012, will see Jackson compete in both Bellator and TNA, as well as other vehicles on Spike TV.

Henderson vs. Grant. For the first time since mid-2012, Benson Henderson will attempt to defend his UFC lightweight title on pay-per-view when he takes on T.J. Grant in the main event of UFC 164.

Bisping undergoes surgery. UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping underwent emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina last week. The operation was deemed a success and Bisping is already targeting potential match-ups in the UFC middleweight division, particularly one against Cung Le.

Kongo reportedly signs. Cheick Kongo, former UFC heavyweight and longtime training partner of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, inked a new deal with Bellator MMA, according to a report from MMA Weekly. Kongo racked up a 11-6-1 record over eight years of UFC service.

Fight bookings. Approximately 436 fights were booked yesterday. There's a complete list at the bottom of this page, but here's a few highlights: Chael Sonnen vs. 'Shogun' Rua, Michael McDonald vs. Brad Pickett, Urijah Faber vs. Yuri Alcantara, Kelvin Gastelum vs. Paulo Thiago and Sara McMann vs. Sarah Kaufman.

Nelson says Cormier turned down fight. Speaking on Tuesday's UFC 161 conference call, heavyweight contender Roy Nelson claimed Daniel Cormier turned down a short-notice fight against him. Cormier, via UFC Tonight, vehemently disagreed, announcing that he'd like to shut Nelson up for his last fight at heavyweight before moving down to 205 pounds by the end of 2013.



Mike Tyson is the greatest.


This got buried under yesterday's ridiculous flood of news, so if you didn't see Benson Henderson's latest, do yourself a favor and check it out. And yes, Al Bundy is in it.


Anderson Silva with a big ol' Hendricks beard? Brazilian commercials are the best commercials.

(HT: MiddleEasy)


Today's throwback clip takes us back to 2007, features the newest TUF coach (with a cameo from Bryan Caraway!), and is extraordinarily ferocious.

Props to @HSA4715 for the find.


So, Jon Fitch is sporting a Street Fighter II t-shirt in this latest WSOF 3 promo, right? Awesome.


John Maguire promised to walk out to UFC 161 dressed like this and dancing like this, but only if he hits 10,000 followers on Twitter. As of this writing he has 9,620. Make it happen, folks.



















Announced yesterday (Tuesday, June 4, 2013):



Today's Fanpost of the Daycomes from Chrisbutz, who is one of the unlucky few I mentioned yesterday: The Peg and the Calgary Horror Revisited

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to attend the UFC at the Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. The main card, when I purchased the ticket, was sick, and then the fighters unfortunately all got sick and the marquee value of the card became s--t.

I am an optimist however, and held out hope that a solid night of fights would make up for the absence of name fighters. To my utter disappointment, aside from Faber Barao, the main card was terrible, and even during the main event, the crowd was so choked at the whole of the card, a skirmish between a couple of douchebags in the stands elicited the most excitement of the evening.

I do not learn lessons quickly, I bought presale tickets for Winnipeg. It was a sick card. Again, fighters started to get sick and the card started to look like s--t, the main event was pulled, and then the co-main event was pulled.

UFC 161 is not the same event quality as initially advertised, and while the card is subject to change, at some point a card is so different that one does not get what they bargained for at the time they initially purchased the tickets.

The UFC has always done a good job of selling the UFC first and the fighters second, for example, one does not go to the GSP fight, they go to UFC XxX, whereas in the 80's one went to the Tyson fight, not to see Don King Promotions. If Tyson pulled out, you can be certain the remainder of the card would not have simply been bumped up, but the UFC approach, while admirable, does not demonstrate similar respect to fans when a cards deficits are not cured. Sonnen Shogun, is a cure, pulling Shogun, not replacing the fight, and pimping up a card whose tickets have not been sold yet, is, in practical terms, a bait and switch, and while not theft, something not far off.

The UFC cannot account for injury, these things happen, but the absence of contingency plans, when you have seen all kinds of injury wreak havoc on cards in 2012, is, frankly, inexplicable. Unfortunately, it is not unforgivable, as the fans will continue to show enough devotion to routine sell out events, despite the lack of respect shown to fans by the UFC, by not appreciating the value of the fans dollar and giving them what they pay for.

Someone told me before, with respect to boxing, it's not about 2 guys fighting, it's about these 2 guys fighting, the fans have to care about one of the fighters, it's has to move them either to see someone win or someone lose. That's the difference between a massive draw and a crowd of people dressed like chairs. When you lose a main event, or co main event, you lose the these 2 guys, and it just becomes 2 guys fighting, it is simply not, as much as the UFC would like you to think otherwise, the same. It's not what you bargained for, it is akin to buying a plane ticket to London, England, and upon arriving at the airport, you notice that your ticket, in fact, says London, Ontario, which is fine, I'm sure it's nice, but if the goal of the trip was to see the Tower of London, you will end up disappointed.

At some point Dana White cannot simply shrug his shoulders and spew something about 'real fight fans' or 'you can't judge a card before it happens' etc., at some point it ought to be recognized how offensive it is to ticket holders to see a fight be yanked from a sold out card and used to stack another card, that someone like myself will think is a sick card, and buy presale tickets for, with their fingers crossed that a fight from that sick card, doesn't get pulled to sell another card 2 months down the road.

Anyway, I'm hoping the Rogan show at the Burton Cummings Theatre on Friday night goes off as planned, it would a shame if Rogan gets sick and his opener gets bumped to the main event, but at least I would still be seeing a night of comedy. That's the same. Right? We are comedy fans, right?

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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