Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn isn’t one to hold his tongue and never has been, especially on the subject of performance enhancing drug use in MMA competition.
Recently, “The Prodigy” got into it with old rival Nate Marquardt following “The Great’s” dust up with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and subsequent release from the UFC after registering elevated levels of testosterone prior to his UFC on Versus 4 fight against Rick Story, which was cancelled as a result.
The two engaged in a heated back-and-forth on Twitter, with Penn taking shots at Marquardt for his TRT usage. During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour, Penn elaborated on his stance on testosterone replacement therapy in MMA.
“I think everyone is really of the same opinion as I am, if they want to admit it or not,” said the 32-year-old Hawaiian. “Stuff like this is not easy to talk about. We’re talking about friends and colleagues of mine. They look at me and they hear me say these things, and they’re like, ‘You know you’re the only guy that doesn’t do it, right?’ And I’m like, I know.
“It’s a catch-22 for me,” he went on. “I believe so strongly in fair play and all these things, and on the other side, it’s people you know and people you look up to, legends of the sport. They’ve been involved with stuff like that. I guess i shouldn’t be so outspoken because I have so many friends and colleagues and so many people I respect in this sport that have gotten involved with stuff like TRT and hormone replacement.”
The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani asked Penn if, at any point in his career, he was approached by peers or coaches with the offer of PEDs. Baby Jay responded quickly and emphatically that he has been many times, but that he’s never once taken up the offer.
“I always said no,” he said. “I always believed that technique is what it was all about. That’s why I always took on the bigger challenges. That’s what jiu-jitsu is about. That’s why they have the absolute division, so when you’re a white belt in jiu-jitsu, you’re already practicing wrestling with bigger people. I always believed it was in the technique. I always believed the needle is not the answer. I always believed that. I still believe it today.”