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Morning Report: B.J. Penn recounts harrowing near-death experience: ‘I got sucked into a wave pool engine room’

B.J. Penn
@bjpenn, Instagram

B.J. Penn was in a life-threatening scenario last year and he credits his fighting career with helping him get through it.

The former two-division UFC champion shared a story on Instagram in which he recounted nearly dying after being sucked into the engine room of a wave pool at a water park (Penn refrained from specifying the location). Penn also shared images of the injuries that he suffered during the incident, which can be seen below along with his unedited caption.

According to Penn, 42, the frightening incident occurred sometime last year while Penn was taking a break from surfing. As one of the waves returned (Penn calls it a “dud wave”) it swept Penn up and dragged him under a wall where he ended up in the engine room of the wave pool. That room fills up with water that becomes the next wave and in this case, submerged Penn in it.

What happened next, Penn describes as something out of the “Saw or Final Destination” horror films.

“The room would fill up with water to the top and I would hold my breath and then it would push the water out to make the wave and it was really rough inside there,” Penn wrote.

“Everything I bumped up against in the room that hurt me got infected. I got a bad sinus infection and a couple facial fractures from getting knocked around the cement walls and from the fractures the dirty water got in my face and infected my whole sinus. I was on antibiotics for three weeks for my face.”

Fortunately for Penn, one of his friends, an experienced surfer, would eventually rescue him. As you can see from the photos above, Penn ended up with several ugly bruises, but otherwise appears to be in good health.

Penn says that thinking about his family helped him to get through the ordeal, as did the challenges he faced during his UFC Hall of Fame career.

“A lot of other people might have panicked and maybe gave up but I just stayed strong for my kids,” Penn wrote. “Anyway to make a long story short I survived that motherf*cker.”

“Maybe I was the first guy in history to get sucked into a wave pool engine room while it is in operation but no matter what happens in life and no matter how scary it is if I can offer you any advice I would just say to ‘stay calm,’ Penn added. “If I didn’t fight tough c*nts my whole life I might have panicked, but it was just another day in the office.”


Ow. Dustin Poirier’s knee was hurting after his trilogy bout with Conor McGregor.

Psychoooo. UFC Vegas 33 main event winner Sean Strickland wants “to kill somebody in the ring.”

Why. Three fighters took on one at a freak show event in Poland.

How much? Be prepared to shell out 60 bones for the Paul-Woodley fight.

Wait. Conor McGregor needs time to recover from injury, but wants to do charity wheelchair boxing bout.


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UFC 265 hype.

Melvin Manhoef appreciation.


On to the Next One. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck and Alexander K. Lee figure out what’s next for the fighters from UFC Vegas 33, plus A.J. McKee and Patricio Pitbull ideas.


The new champ.

Gilbert Burns going fishing.

Francis Ngannou fights [insert Michael Jai White film/TV reference here... I choose Spawn].

Robin Black breaks down A.J. McKee’s historic finish.

Chael Sonnen crowns Bellator’s new featherweight king.

Nick Diaz was JAZZED for Nate at UFC 263.

Practice being like Anthony Pettis responsibly.


Bi Nguyen (6-6) vs. Jenelyn Olsim (4-2); ONE Championship: Battleground III, Aug. 27

Ariane Lipski (13-7) vs. Mandy Bohm (7-0, 1 NC); UFC Fight Night, Sept. 4

Vadim Nemkov (14-2) vs. Anthony Johnson (23-6); Bellator: Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Semifinals, Oct. 16

Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC) vs. Corey Anderson (15-5); Bellator: Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Semifinals, Oct. 16

Julian Marquez (9-2) vs. Jordan Wright (12-1); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 16

Vitaly Minakov (22-1) vs. Tyrell Fortune (11-1, 1 NC); Bellator Moscow, Oct. 23

Paulo Costa (13-1) vs. Marvin Vettori (17-4-1); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 23

Jeffr Molina (9-2) vs. Daniel Lacerda (11-1); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 23

Islam Makhachev (20-1) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (30-13); UFC 267, Oct. 30

Justin Gaethje (22-3) vs. Michael Chandler (22-6); UFC 268, Nov. 6

Kai Kara-France (22-9, 1 NC) vs. Cody Garbrandt (12-4); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 11


We were spoiled for choice over the weekend with Bellator and UFC shows on the same day, not to mention a ONE Championship show on Friday and a Cage Warriors show in San Diego on Sunday. Last weekend, we had bare-knuckle boxing to watch as well.

Like I always say, MMA is supposed to be fun, and right now it’s a great time to be a combat sports fan.

Jed Meshew will be back later this week!



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If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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