Back in June, UFC president Dana White said that B.J. Penn would not get another fight in the company. Less than two months later, White announced he decided to give him a fight with Nik Lentz after the former champion “terrorized me for freaking a week”.
Weeks after the match-up was booked for a yet-to-be-determined card, videos surfaced online showing multiple physical altercations between Penn and a man in Hawaii. One video shows Penn getting knocked down outside of a bar, and a second video shows the fighter throwing punches at the same man.
It wasn’t Penn’s first issue outside the cage this year, though, as the UFC Hall of Famer saw his estranged girlfriend granted a restraining order against him after accusations of abuse, both physical, verbal and sexual before his last fight with Clay Guida in May, but prompted White to publicly say that Penn will not be fighting Lentz in the Octagon.
“He won’t fight again,” White told ESPN. “That’s it. It’s a wrap.”
White says the UFC has already informed Penn of his decision, and admits he wasn’t a fan of the idea of giving Penn another fight to begin with. “The Prodigy”, a former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, has now lost seven straight in the UFC, going 1-9-1 since 2010.
“It’s not even that this was the last straw,” White said. “I didn’t love him continuing to fight anyway, but we having the relationship that he and I have and he’s getting me on the phone, begging me for another fight, begging me for another opportunity, it’s hard for me to turn him down, but after what I saw on that video, B.J. needs to focus on his personal life and get himself together before he thinks about fighting again.
“Listen, I don’t wanna sit here on TV and pick B.J. apart on his life or whatever. I think that we all know what B.J. Penn needs to do and hopefully B.J. Penn knows what B.J. Penn needs to do. Not gonna sit here like I’m his father or I’m some guy who’s above him and pointing the finger at B.J. and B.J. needs to do this and that. What I saw in that video was sad. I love the kid and I hope he gets his life together.”
Speaking with TSN earlier this week, Penn defended himself by saying he was only trying to defuse the situation but the man continued to try to pick a fight with him outside the bar.
“I’m at a concert going to meet a friend of mine that I knew since we were real young kids and I’m over there, and then an acquaintance of mine he gets mad about something,” Penn said. “You know, something was said or what or if it was an old past thing and then he wants to fight about it. I’m like, ‘Naw naw,’ we’ve got a lot of witnesses, everybody can corroborate my story. I’m like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to fight. We’re friends, everything’s cool,’ this and that. He even walks outside and I’m thinking, ‘Aw, this is silly.’ I’m going to go get him, calm him down, come back inside, we’ll come enjoy the concert, we’ve got some other friends there. I walk outside to go give the guy a hug and then he hits me twice. I’m like, ‘No, no, calm down.’ I try to give him another hug and he hits me a couple more times and then he hits me again—I wish they didn’t cut the video in half so whoever put that video up cut it in half, I wish they had the whole thing that showed me trying to hug the guy—finally, my adrenaline kicked up because he was hitting me so much, I’m like, ‘Go ahead, hit me again.’
“But really, I thought the guy would eventually just be like, ‘You know what? Forget it, B.J.,’ give me a hug or whatever, walk away. He hit me and he hit me good. Knocked me down. And then when I got back up he tried it again and then I just had to defend myself. So that’s what you see in the second video.”