BJ Penn

UFC Headed Back to Canada by Year’s End?


Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Months after holding an uber-successful event at Montreal’s Bell Centre which marked records for the fastest and biggest sellout in UFC history, it seems the promotion is attempting to return to Canada for another event before the end of the year.

UFC President Dana White revealed the news yesterday while coming out of a meeting concerning the potential event. He stated that he is pinpointing a return to the Great White North sometime in either November or December. The UFC is also rumored to be considering a trip to Portland, Oregon for their November show as well.

Should Georges St. Pierre come away victorious in his welterweight title defense against Jon Fitch this weekend in Minnesota, an end of the year event could have St. Pierre face UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn in a rematch of their March 2006 bout, where St. Pierre won a razor-close split decision.

Many have estimated that the 21,390 the UFC drew to the Bell Centre earlier this year was no fluke and that the majority of those who purchased tickets resided outside of the province of Quebec. While a St. Pierre-Penn II would be huge in general, it would be of the biggest importance in Canada. So… Olympic Stadium anyone?

(For those in Canada - Dana White will be featured in-studio tomorrow afternoon on Rogers Sportsnet’s “Sportsnet Connected” program, which airs daily from 6 AM-1 PM ET.)

St. Pierre: “I’m Going to Destroy Jon Fitch”

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre discusses his upcoming title defense against top contender and American Kickboxing Academy product Jon Fitch at UFC 87: Seek and Destroy on August 9th in the above video courtesy of MMARated.com. St. Pierre also touches on the UFC potentially holding an event in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, a rematch with B.J. Penn possibly happening before the end of the year, and rumors concerning his relationship with actress Mandy Moore.

Video Hype: Grove Talks “Must-Win” Bout

In the above video, Kendall Grove, the middleweight winner of the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, discusses his upcoming bout against former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, which will take place this Saturday night at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest Finale in Las Vegas, courtesy of ESPN. Grove also talks about his last two devastating losses at the hands of Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera respectively, as well as his decision to move back to his native state of Hawaii in order to train with current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

Video Hype: Sherk Wants Redemption

Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk discusses his upcoming title fight against current champion B.J. Penn at UFC 84: Ill Will this Saturday as well as his positive test for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, why this fight has become so personal, how he plans to make Penn quit and much more with ESPN.

Countdown to UFC 84 Airs Tonight

“Countdown to UFC 84”, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s usual event preview show, will premiere tonight at 11 PM ET on Spike TV.

The episode will highlight two of the more-anticipated bouts that will take place at this weekend’s UFC 84: Ill Will in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.

Keith Jardine will also attempt to climb deeper into the light heavyweight title picture as he takes on fellow exciting striker and former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva. While it won’t be featured on tonight’s program, former longtime UFC champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the promotion.

Those who miss tonight’s show at 11 PM ET can catch a replay at the following times: May 23rd (11 PM ET, 12 AM ET); May 24th (6 PM ET). Both replays will air on Spike TV.

Penn, Sherk Continue War of Words


B.J. Penn. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The war of words between UFC lightweight kings B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk raged on yesterday, a little over a week until their highly anticipated showdown that will decide the organization’s true lightweight champion in Las Vegas.

Even before the bout was officially signed, Penn has been adamant about blasting Sherk with every chance he gets concerning Sherk’s failed steroids test last year under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, a ruling that the Minnesota native still feels is wrong to this day.

“It’s hard for me, being a guy that’s never used performance enhancing drugs,” Penn said on yesterday’s pre-fight conference call for UFC 84: Ill Will. “You wake up every day after training tired and in pain and it kind of gets to you when you learn that someone is taking those kind of things. I’m a purist and I love this sport more than anythning. When someone goes ahead and perverts a sport as pure as this, I can’t take it.”

Even though the two both agreed that the conclusion of the fight would most likely result in the end of the bad blood and hard-feelings, Penn continued to push Sherk’s button as the call went on, even going as far as asking the former champion himself about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, prompting Sherk to strike back.

“I know what I did and I know what I didn’t do,” Sherk said. “I went above and beyond what I had to do in order to try and prove that I was innocent. Anyone that has followed the case and what I’ve had gone through will know that I didn’t do what they said I did.”

“I have fans who stand by me and who believe that I didn’t take steroids,” continued Sherk. “Then there are those who will think a certain way because of the way I look. I’ve looked the same for the past 10 years. Shit, I’ve apparently been doing steroids and I’ve been able to drop down to 155 lbs. Amazing, isn’t it?”

Moderating the banter was UFC President Dana White. While White was hesitant to give a definite opinion on the situation involving Sherk, he also stated that he can’t complain about the amount of animosity between the two.

“I’ve known Sean Sherk for a long time. I respect him as an athlete and as a man,” White said. “B.J. has his opinions of Sean and he’s going to let you know what they are. This happens sometimes. One of the cool things about this sport is the sportsmanship and everything else. But you know sometimes guys just rub each other the wrong way and it happens. Everything I just said about the two best fighters in the world facing each other in their prime, it doesn’t suck when they hate each other either.”

Additional conference call notes from yesterday are after the jump.

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UFC Announces Three Fights for “Ill Will”

The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced three main card fights for UFC 84: Ill Will, which will take place on May 24th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.

Penn claimed the vacant title with a bloody submission win over top contender Joe Stevenson last month at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Penn has been vehement in his comments towards Sherk, who after successfully defending his belt against Hermes Franca last July, tested positive for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission and was stripped of his title.

The two exchanged barbs following Penn’s title win in January.

“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.

Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.

“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”

Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the UFC. The bout will be the final one on Ortiz’s current contract with the promotion.

According to Ortiz, he was expecting a rematch against former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Rashad Evans, whom Ortiz battled to a draw with at UFC 73: Stacked last summer in his last fight. Machida has yet to lose inside the confines of the UFC. He was last seen submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in December.

A showdown between former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva and former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant turned upstart contender Keith Jardine will also take place at the event. A bout between the two was rumored for well over a month.

The reasoning behind the bout is pretty much elementary at this point. After the UFC booked Rashad Evans and Ryoto Machida for scheduled bouts at the same event, it became likely that Silva and Jardine would be paired up. Both Silva and Jardine are coming off of fights against former champion Chuck Liddell. Jardine won a unanimous decision over Liddell last September but Silva ended up going the distance with Liddell in December and losing.

The bout will be Silva’s second inside the confines of the UFC since returning to the promotion after a seven-year stint in PRIDE. A win over Silva will move Jardine that much closer to a well-deserved title shot.

Sherk Talks Penn, Steroids With RawVegas

Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk discusses his upcoming bout with current title holder B.J. Penn as well as why he feels his belt was wrongfully taken away from following a positive steroids test under the California State Athletic Commission with RawVegas. Ultimate Fighter cast member Troy Mandaloniz also stops by to give his take on Sherk’s situation.

Penn Discusses Championship Win

Newly crowned UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn discusses his recent win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 80: Rapid Fire at the post-fight press conference for the event. Penn also talks about his past fights against Jens Pulver and elaborates on his post-fight comments for former champ Sean Sherk.

Third Title Fight is a Charm for Penn


B.J. Penn throws a jab at Joe Stevenson during their championship bout at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a night of quick fights and surprising stoppages, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is still that damn good.

Penn submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Joe Stevenson with a rear naked choke in the second round to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title and become the second fighter in history along with current heavyweight champ Randy Couture to win championship gold in two different weight classes.

The lively 8,412 inside the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England saw Penn surprise Stevenson with an uppercut that sent the California native down to the mat in the opening seconds. Penn pounced on his opponent but Stevenson was able to maintain his composure and survive Penn’s initial assault.

The former welterweight champion controlled Stevenson on the ground for the remainder of the first round, opening up a vicious cut in the middle of Stevenson’s forehead with just over a minute left in the round. Stevenson would end up donning a crimson mask for the rest of the fight.

The two had an even exchange on the feet to start the second stanza but that ended once Penn started to pick Stevenson apart with looping lefts and uppercuts. The bout was stopped at one point to have the doctor check Stevenson’s cut but the stream of blood avoiding Stevenson’s eyes already gave those watching the doctor’s answer.

Stevenson fell victim to another Penn (12-4-1) uppercut once the bout was restarted, signaling the beginning of the end for “Daddy.” Penn used punches and elbows to force Stevenson (28-8) out of position enough to be able to give up his back, which Penn quickly took without a second thought.

Penn was able to sink in a rear naked choke and Stevenson was forced to tap out without putting up much of a fight. The win finally gave Penn the UFC lightweight title in what was his third career attempt at the belt.

After the fight Penn acknowledged that he was trying to make his third try a successful one.

“Joe is a great guy,” said Penn. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I put everything into this. I wanted to make sure it was three times the charm and not three strikes you’re out.”

Penn also went out of his way to send former champion Sean Sherk a message now that Sherk will be challenging Penn in his first title defense later this year.

“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.

Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.

“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”

Continue reading "Third Title Fight is a Charm for Penn"

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