Last week’s premier episode of UFC Primetime was a welcomed change of pace from the typical UFC Countdown show, taking a deeper look inside the lives of Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn than we’ve ever seen before. However, for those of who follow the sport closely, the last few minutes reeked of a scripted storyline playing off BJ’s past reputation of not taking fights seriously. It was enough to upset his trainer Rudy Valentino, and as MMA Junkie is reporting today, perhaps it was enough to upset BJ Penn too, apparently to the point where he cut the taping short and no longer wants to be involved.
A source close to the show on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) B.J. Penn recently shut down a taping and interview session for the series and no longer wants involved in the project.
Penn was apparently unhappy with how he was portrayed in last week’s debut of the series, which hypes a Jan. 31 UFC 94 main event fight between the Hawaiian fighter and UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
The report didn’t specifically mention that BJ was unhappy with the implication that he was taking time off from training to go on vacation with his girlfriend, but I really can’t think of anything else he would be upset about. They’re obviously trying to make him the villain in the story, but that’s not something BJ has exactly shied away from before.
Considering how stressful it is to produce this show when everything is going according to plan, I can only imagine how much hair Dana would be pulling out today if he had any. It will be very interesting to see tonight if they stick with the vacation storyline or move in a different direction.
[UPDATE 1/21/09 6:15PM ET] – It looks like cooler heads will prevail. Here’s BJ telling Tapout Radio what’s going on:
“I really didn’t like how I was portrayed in the first episode. It was ridiculous, actually. I told them that if you keep doing this these cameras aren’t going to come around anymore so you guys better straighten up your act…. It’s just really funny how they try to portray everything like I was a spoiled slacker and a liar [growing up], but whatever … what can you do. All you can do is kick the cameras out. They got kicked out for awhile, but they are trying to make amends.”
Props to MMA Mania for the quote.