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Video Fact-Check: Did the UFC Really ‘Force’ BJ Penn to Say He’d Beat Nick Diaz?


(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…


(Props: MixedMartialArts.com)

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?

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dvt84- September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am
nick d gonna get whoopsed
BelieveInThePowerOfOne- September 17, 2011 at 3:01 am
I don't believe that the UFC should hype fights. It can make it look like a soap opera/wwe. If a rivalry exist such as Mayhem and Diaz, then sell that shit till its fucking down to the last second. But for fighters to be told to pretend like they hate another fighter that they have previously trained with is fucking ridiculous. No matter the rivalry I'm sure all fighters go into the cage with the mentality that they want to "murder" their opponent. BJ goes fucking looney toons in the cage, perfect example would be his fight with Matt Hughes, he didn't need to hype anything. Once in the cage, homeboy went fucking section 9... leave it at that...
Todd M- September 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm
I agree with Karma, the reason BJ mentioned this a few days ago was because he has a good relationship with Nick and he wanted that to be known. I agree that the UFC have to hype fights but it's funny that they don't want to be shown instigating hype, which is also not usually a big deal. The difference here is like BJ says, they are usually trying to make BJ look like the irrational trash talker but this time they are using BJ to bait Nick and BJ is just calling them on it. The UFC should have just ignored BJ's first statements, but instead tried to disprove him with an edited video so BJ returned fire showing what really happened. Small potatoes really, I think we can all agree that we are in for a hell of a fight
Flaneritz- September 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm
Hey CagePotato. Is there any way I can pay you guys to block Xenophon from ever commenting on this site again? I'll get a second job to keep my eyes clear of his idiocracy.
Dirt- September 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm
I want fighters to either hate eachother or be best buds, Those make the best fights! Fake it for the hype... who gives a eff?
XENOPHON- September 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm
@ArmFarmer
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What I am saying is that for the $50 bones, if you stop with the all the bullshit transparent hype - and the fake fluff, the fights should only cost $19.99 on PPV
RearNakedSpoon- September 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm
Keeping it real by fabricating stories about what really happened?
Interesting approach.
KarmaAteMyCat- September 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Anyone think that Penn might just be a fan and a friend of Nicks? Could be that he was just trying to keep it real I'd more then wager in previous Hype videos Bj said what he ment. Remember that time he heard kenny was talking shit and he was all "He really said that?" I just think Bj is keeping it real
arm chair cut man- September 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Yeah.... I have to go with the UFC video release on this one. Even in the BJ follow up video all parties are laughing and having a good time. Doesn't seem like anybody was forced into anything.
IronClad- September 16, 2011 at 11:30 am
Yah this really is a serious waste of time. What can a fighter possibly say thats worse than his fist meeting his opponents face? I get that having a mutual respect is good for the sport but there aint nothing unusual about saying your gonna defeat your opponent. I think cry baby pen might be scurred. Aside from that, when has Penn ever had a problem expressing his future domination over an opponent? The guy licks the blood of his opponent for crying out loud. What a baby.
DangadaDang- September 16, 2011 at 11:24 am
To me the worst part of these pre fight hype vids are the ones right before the fight where Goldy has to inform us of each fighters name roughly 1000 times.
El Guapo- September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am
Tha's not OBI! It's a hispanic sounding imposter! Ditto Baby J..
darciesdaddy- September 16, 2011 at 10:59 am
I don't know about the hype stuff. I watched Junior Dos Santos and Brock show nothing but respect for each other, and I still wanted to see them fight. I'm more interested in seeing people who are willing to act like professional fighters rather than some blood fued, whether it's real or not.

On the other hand, asking someone to say that they are going to beat their opponent, and the date they are going to do it just seems like standard advertising to me. How is that a manufactured grudge match?
ArmFarmer- September 16, 2011 at 10:20 am
Wtf are you talking about xeno? You're saying that because every word of prefight hype might not be true you have been ripped off of every ppv youve paid for? I always thought the fights were what we were paying for... Not the generic "im gonna take him down, beat him up, and make him quit!" lines. If that ruins the event for you then why the hell are you following this sport to begin with? Go watch a talk show or something.
XENOPHON- September 16, 2011 at 10:00 am
@intercept440
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The promotional department only gets credit when their job is done behind the scenes and not full of public interviewee ridicule, corrections, or misstatements from the fighters and the promotional company themselves.
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Makes me wonder now that there is at least 137 UFC style tournament lead-ins (and I don't know how many TUF episodes) have been nothing but pure fluff. With the fluff we get juked for $50 per pop.
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What people here should know is that with 137 UFC PPV's x $50 per pop = $6850 bucks.
danomite- September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am
I'm still waiting for the video of the UFC forcing BJ to say something he didn't want to. All I saw was a video of the interviewer making a joke about what BJ should say. And since when is he afraid to say he's going to beat somebody? He says it every time he fights someone. What's with the fucking semantics too? He'll say he's going to get his hand raise but won't say 'I'll beat Nick Diaz'. Is he planning on losing and hoping Dan Mirgliotta will raise the wrong hand?
Killa-K- September 16, 2011 at 9:45 am
Let's just thank the sweet Lord that Paul Heyman isn't writing any lines for these guys like he did for Carwin when he fought JDS...that was tough to watch.
danomite- September 16, 2011 at 9:40 am
wow, it's an OBI sighting. That reminds me, Jake Shields is so boring just writing an article about him put OBI in a 10 month coma.
intercept440- September 16, 2011 at 9:40 am
first off...Who the fucks cares.
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secondly its promotional dept doing there job..
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it is what it is live with it and move on.
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XENOPHON- September 16, 2011 at 9:35 am
@stevehonda1
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Best
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I am hoping to see a great fight with BJ and Diaz..also, Condit's fire is going to bring it fast and hard to GSP - and that play it safe stratagem may have been stuck with for so many of his fights may just get thrown out the window.
Gobbleston- September 16, 2011 at 9:31 am
Actually, a lot of people don't like fighters for being dicks just because they are dicks.
People speaking foreign languages can still talk shit effectively. they just have to play to their cultural strengths. I still remember Hayoto Sakurai saying in Japanese, "I look forward to knocking out American in America." Translates well, and is hilarious.
ReX13- September 16, 2011 at 9:28 am
holy shit you guys OBI
Birdman- September 16, 2011 at 9:20 am
People also need to realize that even if BJ was asked to say he was going to beat Nick Dias's ass, what makes that so diffenent than all the other times he's said shit like that on his own. People like BJ for a lot of reasons, yes he is a bad ass fighter but that's not the only reason. They like him because of his persona. They know he's going to talk shit. They know he is going to bring a shit load of intensity. They know after its over he's going to run around the cage and lick blood off his gloves. They know these things because these are the things we've all grown accustomed to seeing from BJ. The reason Fedor or Anderson or GSP don't do it, and are not asked to do it, is because aside from the fact that none of them can really speak english all that well and shit talking kind of loses its zeal if you need a translator, it's not them. It's not what they do. If any of those guys ran around the cage and licked blood off their gloves the entire MMA world would be abuzz with " What the fuck is up with that guy". Yet when BJ does it, it's just BJ being BJ. Much like him saying he's going to beat someone's ass.
stevehonda1- September 16, 2011 at 9:09 am
What! All politics and BS??? We get to see BJ Penn and Nick Diaz finally fight, two game opponents that like to box, strike and actually fight, instead of takedowns and lay and pray. Who cares how we got here, all that matters is this is an awesome match up.
XENOPHON- September 16, 2011 at 9:08 am
@Old_Bald_and_Irish
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Yeah that's right. Your right, the fake hype is a weak strategy for building fans and keeping them long term. Letting the fighters say what they want, and speak freely and discuss themselves is much more interpersonal and, as you said of interest to most.
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