UFC: Upcoming BJ Penn Bout on Hold
Recent allegations against Hilo’s BJ Penn have forced the Ultimate Fighting Championship to put plans on hold for the mixed martial arts fighter’s return to the octagon.
Through a spokesperson, the UFC issued a statement to Big Island Now on recent allegations against Penn, which were posted on social media by a former writer for his website.
“UFC is aware of the recent allegations made against BJ Penn. The organization requires all athletes who compete in the UFC to act in an ethical and responsible manner, as detailed in the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. UFC will not tolerate violations of the policy. Every athlete is deserving of proper review, and this situation, as with any serious allegation, will be investigated by an independent party and thoroughly reviewed by the UFC. The UFC organization will also cooperate with any law enforcement investigation. In light of the serious allegations, UFC has postponed plans to book Penn for an upcoming bout until more details are determined,” the statement read.
“UFC holds athletes who compete in the organization to the highest standard and will continue to take appropriate action, if and when warranted. It is important to note that Penn is considered innocent until proven guilty and UFC is not prejudging the mater.”
The series of tweets, posted by former BJPenn.com employee Pedro Alex Carrasco, alleged that Penn “sexually assaulted my Playboy model GF,” though no time frame was given for when he said the incident occurred. He also accused Penn of having a “Coke problem since he was a kid.”
Through his website, Penn’s team issued a statement, denying the social media allegations made by Carrasco.
“The allegations that Pedro and his girlfriend are making against BJ Penn simply aren’t true. Penn trusted Pedro to run his website for almost a decade and considered him family. He was fired last year for unethical behavior and was provided a severance that ended on February 16, 2016,” the statement read. “One day later, allegations appeared in a one sided Twitter rant, which happen to be many months after the alleged date in question (August of 2015).
“There are many holes to Pedro’s story. In the almost 15 years that Penn has been a champion fighter, there has not ever been any incident or allegation in regards to his conduct with women. He is family man and father of two young daughters with a known long term girlfriend. It is unfortunate that someone that BJ considered family is trying to extort him.”
The Hawai’i Police Department could not tell Big Island Now whether an investigation was underway regarding the allegations. According to ESPN.com, however, a police report was filed in Ohio and is being referred to the Hawai’i Police Department.
Last year, Penn was arrested on Maui after a fight took place between him and one of his friends at a hotel in Kihei. No further details were released by the Maui Police Department following the incident.