In recent months, B.J. Penn seems to have been involved in more incidents outside the Octagon than fights in it, but the UFC Hall of Famer claims that recent leaked videos don’t tell the entire story.
In an interview with TSN, Penn explained his side of the alleged bar fight that occurred in Hawaii last month. In one video, Penn is landing punches on a man while in back mount on the inside of the establishment, while more footage shows the man knocking the UFC veteran down with a punch outside.
According to Penn, he knew the man in the altercation and was simply trying to defuse the situation.
“I’m at a concert going to meet a friend that I’ve known since we were really young kids and I’m over there and an acquaintance of mine, he gets mad about something, you know something was said or it was an old past thing and then he wants to fight about it,” Penn said.
“I was like, ‘no, no, I don’t want to fight, we’re friends, everything is cool.’ He even walks outside and I’m thinking, this is silly I’m going to go get him, calm him down and get him to come back inside and enjoy the concert, we’ve got some other friends there. I walk outside to go give the guy a hug and then he hits me twice and I’m like no, calm down. I try to give him another hug and he hits me a couple more times and he hits me again.”
Penn claims that the manner in which the videos were edited and distributed further distorted the nature of the situation. While the video of Penn in mount was initially the first to be released by TMZ, he says that occurred after he was knocked down by his acquaintance outside. He added that there were other key components that weren’t shown.
“Whoever put that video up cut it in half, I wish they had the whole thing that showed me trying to hug the guy,” he said. “Finally my adrenaline picked up because he was hitting me so much so I said go ahead and hit me again, really I thought the guy would eventually just say forget it BJ, whatever, walk away, but he hit me and he hit me good and knocked me down and then when I got back up he tried it again and I just had to defend myself and that’s what you see in the second video.”
The incident is the second in which Penn has been caught on camera while involved in an altercation. A few weeks after his loss to Clay Guia at UFC 237, Penn is shown grappling with a man on the ground outside outside a Hawaii strip club. According to some reports, Penn was allegedly fighting with a bouncer in the video. However, the former two-division champion is adamant that he is trying to avoid trouble due to an ongoing custody battle. Early this year, Shealen Uaiwa, the mother of Penn’s children, filed a restraining order against the former champion in which she accuses the ex-champion of verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as drug addiction.
“There was another video posted on TMZ of me holding somebody on the ground,” Penn said. From that—because I’m in the middle of a custody case right now—I got a lot of slack already from the custody evaluator, from their lawyer, of course, from my lawyer. So the last thing that I’m looking to do—yeah, because everybody was saying that I held down a bouncer, but it wasn’t a bouncer or anything like that. It’s just something happened and I had to protect myself and hold a guy on the ground. So the last thing I want to do is get into any type of trouble.
“My custody case, me seeing my kids depends on all this stuff. It’s just really strange how things just happen and you never see this kind of stuff. But here I am in a custody case and this happened twice.”
Despite an ongoing seven-bout losing streak, UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Penn will meet Nik Lentz at an as yet to be announced event.
“The last thing I’m trying to do is trying to look to go out into a fight,” Penn said. “Ask anybody who knows me, I’m not the first guy to go around and just start pushing people. I’m an older guy too and I just want to enjoy my life and I was thinking today, driving around, why don’t I have two bodyguards on the sides of me at all times just making sure it’s impossible I can get into any trouble. I was thinking that all morning.
“I just have so much things going on, my last fight I’m supposed to be taking care of, I’m jumping into training camp right now, and just a lot of things. A lot of things going on, a lot of things in the mind right now.”