As on HBO’s boxing series 24/7 — from which Primetime takes many cues — the fighters on the UFC hype-show are set up as dueling opposites right from the beginning. Georges St. Pierre is the tireless hard-worker who struggled for everything he has and now enjoys wearing expensive suits, while Penn is the blessed-from-birth party-boy who sees no problem in taking five days off from training three weeks before the fight of his life, and generally prefers the RVCA t-shirt and shorts look. Obviously, those characterizations are exaggerated to create drama for the show — I don’t think anyone really believes that Penn isn’t taking this fight seriously — but nevertheless they got under the Prodigy’s skin and now he’s pulling the ultimate diva move and throwing a wrench into the UFC’s new multi-million dollar promotional tool.
Episode 2 of UFC Primetime airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV, and the third and final episode will likely air next Wednesday, with or without Penn’s participation. We’re more concerned about the mental distraction that Penn might be facing at this point. A week ago he was a happy-go-lucky dude, catching some rays in Kona. Now he’s dodging furious phone calls from Dana White, while MMA fans across the country are calling him a lazy little punk. Will he be able to keep all of that out of his head on the 31st? Or is this a manufactured move to draw even more heat behind the matchup?