Skip to main content

Hall of Famer BJ Penn released by UFC after street fight videos


UFC president Dana White has announced that former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn has been released from his UFC contract.

Penn was rumored to face Nik Lentz in a fight originally set for Boston next month, but recent outside the Octagon issues with Penn had caused the fight to be postponed until at least November and ultimately canceled.

In August, two separate videos surfaced in which Penn got into skirmishes with a bar patron in his native Hawaii. One of the videos included Penn taking several punches and being knocked down.

White said earlier this month that Penn wouldn't fight in the UFC again and that he needed to get his issues under control before he even thinks about fighting.

Penn last fought in a prelim bout at UFC 217 in May, losing via decision to Clay Guida. His only win since 2009 was a second-round knockout over another former 170 lb champion -- Matt Hughes -- in 2010. Since successfully defending his lightweight title against Diego Sanchez at UFC 107 in December 2009, Penn has gone 1-9-1.

"The Prodigy" was the first lighter weight star to really move numbers for the UFC during a time in which the company's popularity was exploding. He opened his career by going 7-1-1 over top competition on his way to winning the welterweight title over Hughes in January 2004. He then left UFC due to a contract dispute and was stripped of that belt.

After fighting overseas for most of 2004 and 2005, Penn returned to much fanfare but lost his first two fights back in the company to Georges St-Pierre and the aforementioned Hughes, the latter fight being for the welterweight title that Hughes had regained.

Moving down to 155, Penn stopped Sean Sherk to win the lightweight title in the third round of the main event of UFC 84. He then went on to face welterweight champion St-Pierre in a rematch that drew 920,000 buys, a record at the time for a show headlined by a welterweight title fight.

Penn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.

Indications are that Penn still wants to fight, but if he does it will not be with the UFC.