BJ Penn’s return to the Octagon has been postponed until further notice according to a statement from the UFC following recent allegations that surfaced against the Hawaiian.
The controversy stems from a former editor from Penn’s website alleging that the UFC Hall of Famer assaulted his girlfriend in Hawaii, and that there are plans to pursue legal action against him in court.
Due to the serious nature of the allegations, the UFC has opted to put Penn on the shelf pending an investigation into the matter.
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"UFC is aware of the recent allegations made against BJ Penn," officials said in a statement released on Thursday. "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 was expected to make his return to action at UFC 197 in April after coming out of retirement just recently to resume his career. Penn retired following a loss to Frankie Edgar in 2014, but he relocated to New Mexico several weeks ago and decided to begin training under coach Greg Jackson and his team.
Now it appears until an investigation is completed, Penn has been pulled from any fight bookings until further notice.