Perhaps he should have stayed retired.
In January B.J. Penn announced he was coming out of retirement to return to the UFC. Feeling the urge to get back to fighting, Penn began training at the fabled Jackson-Winklejohn camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico with MMA guru/"sport killer" Greg Jackson who he seems to connect with. The pair have been pleased with Penn's progress and Penn is hopeful about his chances to make a real title run; however, his path back to the octagon has been a bumpy one.
In February, Penn was accused of sexually assaulting a former employee's girlfriend. The seriousness of the accusations forced the UFC to delay Penn's return which had been targeted for UFC 196. In April, police began an investigation into the allegations. Ultimately, no charges were filed against Penn and a private investigation by the UFC allowed him to return to competition. Penn was then booked for a featherweight bout against Dennis Siver at UFC 199 but Siver pulled out due to injury and was replaced by Cole Miller. Now that fight is off as well.
As reported on Monday, Penn was withdrawn from the bout due to a USADA violation, using a non-permitted IV infusion. Yesterday, Penn spoke with KHON2 News in Hawaii about the incident.
"I wasn't aware that I couldn't take an IV 365 days a year. I got an IV back in March and USADA came to do a test. We did the test and they asked me, when was the last time I got an IV. I told them ‘the week before' and that's it. We're not being investigated for any banned substances or nothing like that. It's just [that] I disclosed to USADA that I did an IV without getting permission from them first and they penalized me for it."
The IV ban was a point of minor contention when it was initially implemented though one that some fighters, Penn included, were supportive of. To many it appeared that the ban was strictly to prevent fighters from dehydrating themselves to dangerous levels in order to make weight and then using IV's to replenish faster. The actual reason for the rule goes much deeper than that.
According to a statement released by USADA yesterday, the ban was put into effect because IV's can be used to change blood test results, mask urine results, and circumvent rules banning prohibited substances by allowing them to more quickly exit the athlete's body. However, like many things involving USADA's work with the UFC, the implementation of these rules has led to some confusion. This confusion, and the fact that Penn is facing no allegations of PED use at this time, leads Penn to believe that his suspension shouldn't be long.
"I don't think it should be so long. I don't think it should be too long because, I mean ignorance of the rule is no excuse but it has nothing to do with banned substances. We're not doing anything with any performance enhancement. I think they've just gotta lay down the punishment for whatever they feel."
As of now Penn is conditionally suspended until such time as USADA renders an official judgment, which Penn then has the option to appeal. There is no timetable on when Penn may be able to return and since the UFC-USADA partnership era is new, there isn't any precedent to guide speculation. But regardless of how long his suspension is Penn says this isn't the end, just another setback; one which his new coach won't let defeat him.
"It's gotta just be a speed bump. I went way too far to say I'm exhausted at this point. Really it's been amazing how my fights have just been getting pushed back but I guess this is just one more road bump.
I'm the best I've ever been. I'm doing great in the gym. I feel awesome. I don't think Greg Jackson would let me quit at this point."
You can listen to the interview below.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Silver. Paige VanZant finished in second place in Dancing With The Stars.
At least he owned it. Chael Sonnen relays a story about the time he kept Wanderlei Silva from walking off of TUF by showing Silva his bank account.
Pot meet kettle. Cody Garbrandt claims Thomas Almeida padded his record by beating up "cab drivers."
Fight! Jacare Souza responds to Michael Bisping's comments about him.
Almost as bad as trying to injure opponents. Rousimar Palhares claims illegal elbow strikes were the cause of his loss in Venator this past weekend.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Outrage. Todd Martin of Sherdog.com discusses the appropriate times to get upset over robbery decisions, in the context of the Bellator event this past weekend.
Brian Stann weighing in on CM vs. PBF
A double header free fight video. Caraway tapping Erik Perez first and then Aljo pounding out Hugo Viana
Chael's hour long shoot from The MMA Hour this week is classic stuff. I sure hope he comes back.
Fight Network breaking down the main and co-main event of this weekend.
Tyson Griffin (who holds a win over RDA) talks about RDA improving and how he thinks Khabib is the only person likely to beat him.
This is great and uplifting stuff in a place that can use it for children that can use it. Good on you Rich Franklin and the rest of One Championship.
MayGregor and BJ Penn discussion.
Bisping and DJ vs. Wilson Reis discussion.
That's a bad look.
I love the new PED and IV ban in the UFC. I never took an IV in my life after a weigh-in. IVs are for wimps!#BeerAndHotDogs— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) July 6, 2015
A man of many talents.
Doing some @joerogan things always been a big fan of him if you need me @ufc I'm down to do it only in Russian pic.twitter.com/7rXvIIZGWI— Ruslan Magomedov (@MagomedovUFC) May 24, 2016
This happened yesterday.
Seriously, that was one hell of a punch by @PaulBuentello #ADW4 pic.twitter.com/nU8nv9y3XJ— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) May 24, 2016
Snapchat is a weird place man.
This that bullshit lol pic.twitter.com/uCaVN4mrdS— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) May 25, 2016
A close runner up but #1 in our books! Congrats @PaigeVanzantUFC & @MarkBallas on an incredible season!#DWTSFinale pic.twitter.com/lS30FoLWrY— UFC (@ufc) May 25, 2016
May 25, 2016
They can't get a bigger screen?
Retirement treating Mike Swick well.
Jumping in on @JoomJoomBB's photoshoot at @AKAThailand. She is the president of the NABBA/WFF bodybuilding association here in Thailand. I am using the strength and conditioning programs we have here at #AKAThailand to completely heal and rebuild my body from scratch, in hopes to become the best pure athlete I have ever been. I have a long way to go but every day is a step forward. ;) ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ Copyright: Thassin Sirisunthiti ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ #nevergiveup #inspiration #gymtime #gymlife #noexcuses #instafitness #fitnessmodel #gymrat #healthylife #postworkout #athlete #instafit #fitnessmotivation #gymmotivation #dedication #leanmuscle #riseandgrind #motivation #fitnessmodel #teamaka #akathailand #phuket #thailand #phuketstagram #patong #chalong #islandlife #UFC199 #UFC200
Erik Perez (15-6-0) vs. Francisco Rivera (11-6-0); UFC 201, July 30.
Ryan Hall (5-1-0) vs. Alex White (11-2-0); UFC Fight Night 91, July 13.
Bob Sapp (11-18-0) vs. Aori Gele (1-2-0); Road FC 32, July 02.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2012: Cole Konrad defended his Bellator heavyweight championship defeating Eric Prindle by kimura at Bellator 70. Also at this event, Rick Hawn won the Bellator season six lightweight tournament by defeating Brent Weedman via decision.
2013: Cain Velasquez knocked out Antonio Silva with punches in under two minutes to defend his UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 160. In the co-main event, Junior dos Santos put forth a Knockout of the Year contender, finishing MArk Hunt with a spinning hook kick in the third round. Also at this event, TJ Grant earned his last UFC victory, knocking out Gray Maynard in a lightweight title eliminator bout. Afterwards, Grant was slated for a shot at the lightweight championship but injuries derailed that and he has yet to return to action.
At Jewels 24th Ring, Seo Hee Ham defeated Naho Sugiyama via unanimous decision to become the Jewels 105 lb. champion. At this event, Jewels also announced they would be brought under the DEEP promotional banner.
1988: WSOF lightweight and part-time super hero Ben "Phoenix Jones" Fodor; UFC middleweight Scott Askham.
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.