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B.J. Penn arrested, released on suspicion of DUI, video shows belligerent encounter (updated)

UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn is again in trouble with the law.

Penn was arrested on Jan. 23 in Honokaa, Hawaii, on suspicion of DUI after police received a reckless driver complaint, Hawaii County Police Department spokesperson Denise Laitinen confirmed to MMA Fighting. Penn was later released pending an investigation. Laitinen declined to provide additional details on Penn’s arrest and blood-alcohol level.

Penn was not immediately reachable for comment, and a Penn family rep, Gary Levitt, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Word of Penn’s arrest comes after a video surfaced on Monday that appeared to show a belligerent Penn being put in a police car. (Warning: the video contains offensive language.)

Penn, 42, was investigated for DUI this past February after he crashed his truck in front of a shopping mall in his native Hilo and was hospitalized. The results of a blood-alcohol test reportedly triggered the investigation. A Penn family rep denied he flipped the truck as initially reported.

The former two-division UFC champion was released from the promotion in September 2019, one month after video surfaced of him fighting a man in the street and getting knocked out. He had been promised a final octagon bout by UFC President Dana White before the incident and was in talks to fight rival Nik Lentz.

As MMA Fighting reported this past month, Penn is at the center of a paternity suit filed by a woman who says he’s the father of her daughter, Mahina Amado Penn. He also went to court in a custody battle over his children with former partner, Shelean Uaiwa, who filed a restraining order against him that alleged years of domestic abuse.

Penn (16-14-2) was one of the UFC’s most popular and successful fighters in the octagon and won the lightweight and welterweight titles. But his last eight fights resulted in a 0-7-1 record with his final win coming in a trilogy bout against Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in November 2010.

UPDATE: The Hawaii Police Department released a statement on Penn’s arrest, confirming earlier details reported by MMA Fighting.

“Jay Penn of Hilo, also known as BJ Penn, was arrested Saturday, January 23, 2021, for operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants.

“About 4:51 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Hawai‘i Police Department officers from the Hamakua district responded to a report of a reckless driver on a business property in Honoka’a.

“Upon arriving on scene, police learned through witnesses that Penn had arrived at the business earlier in a gray Toyota pickup truck. Prior to police arrival, the 42-year-old was observed talking loudly towards employees and later drove off the property in a reckless manner.

“While officers were at the scene speaking with the business employees about the incident, they observed Penn return to the property. Officers contacted Penn and observing signs of impairment, arrested him for operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants. Penn was later released pending further investigation.”

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