BJ Penn Needs Help

He’s lost seven straight fights in the cage and at least one out of it.

Jim Rome
August 29, 2019 - 10:16 am
BJ Penn

USA Today


Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but BJ Penn was in a fight outside an establishment. Actually, don’t stop me – stop BJ Penn. Because this stuff has to stop.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Penn on this show, but it hasn’t been that long since Penn’s name came up on the show. Daniel Cormier mentioned him a few weeks ago.

Actually, at the time Cormier and I spoke, Penn had lost seven fights in a row. But this one is number eight. I’ll get to the scorecards for his latest fight in a moment, but first, let’s set the stage. 

According to reports, BJ was at the Lava Shack on Tuesday. And while I’ve never been to the Lava Shack, I have to think, that anyone who goes to a place called the Lava Shack has to know the HOT TAKES will be flowing. And if dudes are opening up their pie holes and molten lava is pouring out generously, someone’s face is going to get broken.   And as you might imagine, TMZ, somehow, someway, has video, actually videos… of that very thing happening. And one of them looks bad. Really really bad.

In one video, the one that TMZ says took place first, Penn is grappling, sort of, with this flabby, shirtless guy in camo shorts. Then he tells the guy, “Punch me again, punch me again.”

And the guy does. Hits him with a one-two combo and drops Penn.

That is one of the absolute legends of MMA lying on the ground after being dropped by a fat man in camo shorts. A fat man, who landed a really good left hand. But a fat man nonetheless. 

And after he drops him, the shirtless guy does exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation. Go to the neutral corner, and wait for the ref to begin the count or stop the fight. But you could tell how hyped he was to have put the former champ on his back; the guy looked he was about to start climbing the side of the cage to celebrate: or run up on the ropes ala Sugar Ray Leonard after a big win.

And don’t come in here and tell me that Penn was fighting out of his weight class. I know that he did a lot of his work in the lower weight classes and that Conor McGregor would never be asked to fight Daniel Cormier. That’s neither here nor there. That’s not the point at all.

The point is that if you’re a legend like that, you cannot be out fighting randos in public. And you certainly can’t tell them to punch you and then get knocked the hell out by them.

Again, I don’t know what happened that led up to Penn being floored by a shirtless man. A rep for Penn released a statement that said: "Upon meeting friends for a concert at the Lava Shack, words were exchanged between BJ and the acquaintance. From witness accounts, BJ tried multiple times to defuse the situation, but was hit repeatedly and knocked to the ground, as seen on the video."

What I saw on the video was Penn defusing the situation by getting that guy’s fist fused to his face. Nothing got defused there. And his head almost got detached.

I know that someone allegedly close to Penn told TMZ that the guy had been egging Penn on all night. "This guy is notorious for taunting BJ."

But that’s not excuse. You can’t get hooked like that. If this guy really is “notorious” for taunting BJ, that’s all the more reason to stay away. Or to not go out. Because this isn’t the first time this summer that Penn has been involved in an incident at a club or bar.

And if you can’t go out without getting into a fight, here’s an idea: don’t go out.  Especially if you know you’re going to run into someone who has absolutely nothing to lose, everything to gain and is looking to hook you. You how many MMA’ers that I’ve spoken to that say they constantly bump against that one a hole rando, in a bar, after drinks, who’s fueled up on liquor courage and wants to test them. You know many MMA’ers have told me that. Pretty much all of them. And if your response is, “hey Rome, what are we supposed to do: just stay home? Never go out? Yes. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. Especially, if you can’t go out without getting hooked.

There are a ton of bad looks in the video. Being fat and shirtless in camo shorts is a bad look. But not nearly as bad as being dropped by a guy who’s fat and shirtless in camo shorts.

That is a guy who beat Matt Serra, who beat Matt Hughes, who went up against GSP, and he’s getting dropped by a chunky dude in camo shorts? You know what’s worse than fighting for no good reason and not getting paid for it. Fighting for no good reason, not getting paid for it and getting knocked out.

And while he clearly lost that fight, taking him to eight straight losses, and yes, if B.J. is going to continue to fight for the viewing public, I’m going to continue to update his record….as bad as the loss looks, I’m not sure that the next video is any better. In fact, it’s worse.

Because in it, Penn lying on top of the shirtless man inside the Shack and he is whaling away on the guy. According to one report, he tackled the guy to the ground, got on top, and then started landing punches.

Again, this is a UFC Hall of Famer just smashing some shirtless guy at a bar, while patrons scream and Inner Circle’s “Sweat (a la la la la long)” plays in the background.

It’s really one hell of a scene.

And a horrible look for a legend in the cage. It’s one thing to be breaking records for UFC lightweight title defenses in a cage, it’s quite another to be beating up an out of shape dude at a bar while early 90s reggae-fusion plays in the background.

As always with a situation like this, it’s impossible to really know what’s going on. We don’t know what happened before the cameras were turned on in the first place or what happened between the first video and the second, but all of it is terrible.

I don’t really know what did or did not happen that night at the Lava Shack. But I don’t need to know what happened to know that can’t happen.

You simply cannot be doing that.

As time has gone by, we’ve learned more about BJ Penn outside the cage. And what we’ve learned has not been good. There was the alleged fight with a bouncer earlier this summer. There was the allegation that he threatened a farmer with a machete. There is the restraining order filed against him by his wife and the allegations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

He’s lost seven straight fights in the cage and at least one out of it. This is a guy who needs to stop fighting, inside the cage and out of it. And who needs help. Immediately. Somebody needs to step in, because we’ve all seen this movie before and we know how it ends.