(The BJ Penn air freshener — perfect for whenever something smells fishy.)
BJ Penn, God bless him, has never been afraid to bump heads with his UFC bosses — and now a new feud is brewing between the Prodigy and the UFC’s hype-show producers. It all started earlier this week when Penn released a video blog discussing an experience he had shooting the Countdown special for UFC 137. Said Penn:
“I got a lot of respect for Diaz, I’ve trained with him. They forced me to say… ‘You gotta say Nick Diaz‘s name now, you gotta say his name.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ They were like, ‘Say you’re going to beat Nick Diaz.’ And I said, ‘I’m going to beat Nick Diaz.’ I wish…I would have said ‘at UFC 137 my hand is going to be raised.’ I don’t know if they’re going to come back and try to show Nick Diaz that, I don’t know what’s going on with that.”
Seems innocent enough — it’s not like the UFC coached Penn to attack Diaz personally, and declarative statements like these are a standard element of fight promotion. But it was still enough to rub Penn the wrong way. So you can imagine how he felt when Dana White himself released footage showing that Penn wasn’t really “forced” to say anything at that Countdown shoot. Check this out…
At the end of the clip, the producer asks Penn if he’ll defeat Nick Diaz, and Penn says “I will defeat Nick Diaz.” They ask him to say it again while mentioning the date of fight, and he does without hesitation. “Do you guys need that to make sure he signs the contract?” Penn asks with a laugh.
But that’s not the end of the story. Even though Penn’s take on the situation was apparently contradicted by this footage, he’s not letting it go so easily. Here’s the official response from Pedro Carrasco of BJPenn.com:
I have attached a video in response to the recent issue started by the article released on Mixedmartialarts.com…
If you watch it, it will show the UFC interviewer specifically instigating trash talking from BJ. While BJ’s recent recount may not have been 100% accurate based on what the video released allowed you to see, our video shows them asking for specific items from BJ in hopes to hype the fight.
So forgive us for a slightly innacurate recount of events, but as you can see, we are used to the UFC making requests that instigate a fighter to say things he would not normally say and for that reason BJ is somewhat sensetive to these types of baited interviews now.
That is all.
The video is below. Give it a look and tell us your opinion — should the UFC stop trying to build up rivalries out of thin air, or should pro fighters expect a certain amount of storyline-creation and manufactured heat as just part of the job?