There was a time when BJ Penn was one of the most feared fighter on the planet. Images of the crazed Hawaiian licking the blood of his fallen foe off his gloves or the battered faces of Deigo Sanchez, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk circulated around the web and went viral. Baby Jay carved a path of destruction through the lightweight division unlike anyone had ever seen up until that point, playing with his prey like a cat with a mouse.
However, in recent years the Bj Penn that has been making the walk is but a shell of his former self. The fire can be seen in his eyes, and he dearly wants to be “The Prodigy” again, but father time, paired with the scars of war, rears its ugly head once again.
We would need to go back nearly a decade to find Penn’s last win. In his last seven fights, all of which are losses, he has been stopped three times. In his decision loss to Rory MacDonad he was battered for three rounds by a bigger stronger fighter.
Not only has in-cage career taken a steep nose dive, but so has his personal life. In October of 2018, Penn’s long time girlfriend, Shealen Uaiwa, filed a restraining order for her and her children citing years of physical and sexual abuse. Fast forward to just last month a video surfaced of Penn throwing down on the streets in a bar fight.
This begs the question, should BJ Penn be competing? The short answer is clearly, no. There’s no way Penn should be stepping in that cage and taking more damage, its ludicrous and irresponsible. which brings me to the next question, who should be the one to pull the plug?
This question is much more complicated than you’d think. Many point to Dana White and the UFC , but this would not be a solution to the issue. If Dana and company would turn away Penn, it would simply kick the rock down the road. There’s nothing stopping Penn from signing with another promotion and being trotted out like a bald dead corpse. If anything, the UFC agreeing to give him fights is the best thing for him.
If he is to fight, it might as well be with the worlds biggest promotion that has the best medical care and it’s worth noting the boss has a close personal relationship with Penn. If Penn were to get pushed out of the UFC, there is no doubt he would be quick to find a home in some of the biggest promotions, such as Bellator. Bellator have come close to seeing a death in the cage due to negligence, looking at you Dada 5000.
The reality is, the only people, or collective, that should be pulling the curtains across the encore of a over extended career is the commissions. It is a government agency who allows these fights to take place and gives these athletes the license to step in that cage in the first place.
Commissions wield a heavy hammer, and are quick to swing it when someone gets popped for a joint, and in the past they have had no problem coming down on any fighter who looks to defy them with a well constructed defense. They have been the butt end of jokes on times for the calamity that is their hearings.
It’s time for them to step up and put some effort into protecting these fighters and making some responsible decisions. It’s lackadaisical commissions that led to the death of former UFC heavyweight; Tim Hague. These commissions can, at any time revoke a license due to safety issues, if a fighter bucks, run them through the battery of tests. Take that extra step and do your fucking job.
It isn’t all hat in hand weed smokers who you can rake over the coals for thousands of dollars. Make a difference in the sport you’re paid to oversee. Make it safer, earn the paycheck that the tax payers give you. So many of these athletes walk in there not worrying about death, that’s how fighters are programmed.
There’s no doubt this will ever happen and people will continue to throw their hands up and quickly drive the bus over the UFC or some other promotion, but reality is, the commission are the only ones who can put a stop to this.
What’s sad is Penn can go out three times a year and have his brains beat in and the commission wouldn’t bat an eye, but i bet if he has a puffs a joint on a weekend and pops for THC they would have him dragged in to face the music real quick.