By CagePotato contributor Kipp Tribble
Yesterday, BJ “The Prodigy” Penn received a sentence of one year’s probation and was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution for hitting a Honolulu police officer during a melee outside of a Waikiki bar in 2005. As part of the no-contest plea to 3rd-degree assault charges, Penn must also abstain from alcohol, perform 50 hours of community service and submit to a substance abuse treatment program and random drug and alcohol tests. (Ed. note: Abstain from alcohol? Personally, we’d take the jail time — and we think Don Frye would agree.) Penn was also ordered to not travel outside the United States — well, unless it’s to fight in England next month at UFC 80 and make some scratch, then it’s okay. But otherwise, they’re cracking down!
“I think BJ Penn is a punk. Who the hell is he? He’s won one fight in a couple of years now and it’s just whatever man. He wants to make all of these rules and regulations, but who the hell is he? I’m the champ in my eyes so I don’t care if he fights me or not, there’s a whole bunch of guys that could fight me right now. It’s his loss, not mine. He needs me more than I need him.”
For the record, Dana White was quick to strip Sherk of his lightweight title after the CSAC upheld its steroid-offense ruling, but hasn’t made any kind of statement or action regarding the BJ Penn situation. So here’s a question for the bald wonder: Why does Sean Sherk get punished for a non-criminal offense, yet BJ Penn, who was basically just convicted of assault, is allowed to continue competing? Sure, a fight organization doing it’s best to go mainstream would be wise to have a zero-tolerance policy on steroids to keep up appearances of athletic legitimacy, but what’s the limit on actual criminal behavior? What is this, the NFL? Maybe Dana White understood that one more UFC event without a title match — as well a second-consecutive event where one of the main event’s fighters is swapped — would be too disastrous to risk. So kudos to BJ Penn for catching the UFC at a time when it can’t afford to be ethical.
On that note, we can’t go without mentioning that there’s a riveting video on the Prodigy’s official site of the newly convicted fighter watching newscasts of his sentencing. Clearly, Penn has 20/400 vision and refuses to wears specs — nobody sits that close to the TV set but my grandmother and radiation-addled factory workers. And BJ must be in a creative slump, because a video of a person watching a newscast about their court hearing isn’t exactly in chapter one of the “How to Run an Awesome Website” handbook. (Even if it is shot in HD…)