The UFC has decided to play it safe on announcing any return to the Octagon by former champion BJ Penn after assault allegations were brought against him recently.
The promotion sent out a statement regarding the matter on Thursday:
“UFC is aware of the recent allegations made against BJ Penn. The organization requires all athletes who compete in the UFC to act in an ethical and responsible manner, as detailed in the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. UFC will not tolerate violations of the policy. Every athlete is deserving of proper review and this situation, as with any serious allegation, will be investigated by an independent party and thoroughly reviewed by the UFC. The UFC organization will also cooperate with any law enforcement investigation. In light of the serious allegations, UFC has postponed plans to book Penn for an upcoming bout until more details are determined.
UFC holds athletes who compete in the organization to the highest standard and will continue to take appropriate action, if and when warranted. It is important to note that Penn is considered innocent until proven guilty and UFC is not prejudging this matter.”
The allegations were presented by a 29-year-old female to an Ohio Sheriff’s Office recently. The assault took place in Hawaii in 2015 and has been turned over to those police.
Penn, 37 years old, was looking to end a two-year retirement and fight as soon as early this year. His return was once earmarked for March before being pushed back to April.
“The Prodigy” has not won a fight since 2010.
Pedro Alex Carrasco, a former editor of BJPenn.com, brought the allegations to light via Twitter recently with a series of detailed posts stating the incident involved his girlfriend. He is no longer with the website.