UFC scraps plans for B.J. Penn’s return following serious allegations of sexual assault

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

B.J. Penn (photo credit Stephen R. Sylvanie © USAToday Sports)

Plans for B.J. Penn’s return have been scrapped following some serious allegations of sexual assault this week, with the UFC releasing a statement on the matter Thursday morning.

The allegations initially came from former BJPenn.com editor Pedro Carrasco, who went on a rant on Twitter about Penn that alleged the UFC Hall of Famer had sexually assaulted his girlfriend, among other things. Those claims were somewhat corroborated by videographer Cynthia Vance, who said she was with Carrasco while the incident between Penn and Carrasco’s girlfriend, Amber Soukup, was happening.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter on Wednesday, Soukup has officially filed charges against Penn, though a police report on the matter is not yet available. However, with the allegations and now a police investigation involved, the UFC felt it appropriate to delay any plans for Penn coming out of retirement until the matter is resolved.

Here’s their statement:

UFC is aware of the recent allegations made against B.J. 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.

Penick’s Analysis: This is a really bad situation, and if there’s even a modicum of truth to the allegations it’s something that just puts a huge cloud on Penn as a person. The allegations are disgusting and reprehensible, and if Penn did what he’s alleged to have done, there will be no comeback, there will be no redemption story, and it will mean the tarnishing of his name and everything he’s done to this point in his career. We’ll know more of what’s been alleged to have happened when the charges are released, and Penn himself will likely try to deny or downplay any of it, but at the very least this has killed his plans for the foreseeable future.

[Photo (c) Stephen R. Sylvanie via USA Today Sports]

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