B.J. Penn is out of the UFC, the promotion where he won titles in two weight classes, per Dana White.
He had a fight, then he didn’t, following a couple of scandals. Now, B.J. Penn has been released by the promotion he won two titles in. The news come by way of Yahoo Sports, citing UFC President Dana White. And while many will breath a sigh of relief, it’s not all good news.
As recently as June following UFC 240, White had confirmed Penn (16–14–2), who has not won a fight since 2010, would face Nik Lentz at an upcoming event. However, Penn’s life seemed to be disintegrating around him, and he was caught on camera in not one but two altercations outside bars in his native Hawaii. One video appeared to show him being knocked out.
Given that, most fans and pundits grew concerned for Penn, who gave his side of the story to Canada’s TSN.
All’s well that ends well, right? However, there’s a catch. The UFC really had little choice here. As Penn was under contract, and not retired, they were required to offer him fights, else said contract would eventually expire. By releasing him, the UFC is signalling that they don’t want Penn fighting for them — but he’s now free to fight elsewhere.
A very real possibility, especially with Bellator having added Hawaii to their itinerary.
B.J. Penn made his pro, and UFC, debut in 2001 at UFC 31. He won the welterweight title at UFC 46, but was stripped of the title after leaving the promotion following a contract dispute. He then won the lightweight title at UFC 80, defending it three times (while mounting a failed bid to reclaim the 170lb strap against Georges St. Pierre) before losing the belt to Frankie Edgar in 2010. Losing an immediate rematch to Edgar, Penn would defeat Matt Hughes that same year, battle to a draw with Jon Fitch in 2011, then lose his remaining seven fights with the UFC.