Last month, BJ Penn made it official: he was stepping out of retirement to fight in the UFC again. He moved his training camp from its long time location in Hawaii to Jackson Winkeljohn’s in Albuquerque — home to other champs like Jon Jones and Holly Holm — and was penciled in to fight at UFC 197 in April.
But now that return is in question as some serious-sounding allegations have been raised against the former lightweight and welterweight champion. For years, Penn has hosted a popular MMA news site at BJPenn.com, which was run by Pedro Carrasco up until October. Now Carrasco has come forward on Twitter claiming he left the site after Penn sexually assaulted his girlfriend:
According to Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter, Carrasco’s girlfriend Amber Soukus filed charges against Penn on the 16th of February. And now the UFC has taken note of the situation and is holding off on scheduling a fight for Penn until they’ve conducted their own investigation. Via UFC.com:
“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.”
Penn and those around him have remained silent on the subject, with his brother JD telling MMAJunkie “it’s in the hands of the lawyers.”