Guess who's back... back again... BJ Penn, tell a friend... PSYCHE!!
Penn hasn't fought in the UFC since 2014 (and hasn't won since 2010) but was set to make his return this July, but the MMA God's decided against it.
The UFC released a statement today regarding the cancellation of his bout.
"The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed BJ Penn of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation. Penn disclosed the usage of a prohibited method - the use of an IV in excess of 50 ML in a six-hour period - during a March 25, 2016, out-of-competition sample collection. In accordance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Penn has received a provisional suspension, and has been removed from his scheduled bout against Cole Miller on June 4 in Los Angeles. UFC will announce a replacement opponent for Miller shortly, and additional information will be provided by USADA and UFC at the appropriate time as the process involving Penn moves forward.”
This is pretty interesting considering a tweet from just a year ago where Penn praised the program he was just zinged by today.
Penn hasn't gone quietly into the night (as if). He released a statement on his website stating he had no idea he was even breaking a rule.
“I voluntarily disclosed to USADA that during a non-fight period that I had an IV administered under the care of a doctor. The rule for IV usage had changed since my last fight in the UFC and was unaware of the change and voluntarily disclosed the information to USADA. I had no idea that IV use was banned 365 days a year. At no time in my career in martial arts have I ever doped and anticipate all test results from USADA will come back clean and will be working with the UFC to get the matter cleared up and return to fight as soon as possible.”
Ok, so I am in the MMA media and even I sometimes get confused on the new USADA rules. So... maybe it's possible??
Ironically Champions.co spoke exclusively with Greg Jackson, co-owner of the famed Jackson-Wink Martial Arts & Fitness Academy and arguably the most successful MMA trainer... ever... just hours before this news broke. Jackson is also Penn's current coach.
Jackson said that people warned him that Penn would be lazy, but he says that isn't the fighter he sees today.
"BJ is the opposite of lazy, I have to kick him out of the gym," He said. "He's so excited, and he's nervous, and he's everything a fighter should be. He's passionate again."
He went on to say that the outcome of the fight isn't as important to him as the process. (I wonder if he said that because he knew the fight would be off?)
"It's been such an experience with BJ," he said. "It's all a part of the process. The first fight is going to be what it is. If we do great, that's great. If we don't do great, that's fine. I'm not putting any expectations on it because it's all a part of the process of kind of pushing the envelope."
He says that he doesn't have any expectations for this fight, win or lose.
"We spent the last six months together, I care about the guy a lot," he said. "I've really seen him grow and change and I hope that reflects in the fight."
And in case anyone had any doubt about what Jackson really thinks of Penn I think this pretty much sums it up.
"There are certain personality types that are marks of a great fighter," he said. "And BJ has that."
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)