Four days have passed since UFC 94, and MMA fans are still waiting to see what B.J. Penn will do. At one point it appeared that Penn and his camp had come to terms with the defeat. The next minute Penn was preparing to file a complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Whatever Penn’s actions are—he is legally within his rights to file a complaint, and St. Pierre’s corner clearly violated a rule by applying, intentionally or not, Vaseline—there is still one question that hasn’t been asked.
What’s the end game?
If Penn is trying to get the NSAC to overturn the fight, perhaps as a No Contest or a Draw, we can look to historical precedent to see what the commission will do. If we examine the case of Anthony Johnson and Kevin Burns it seems clear that the NSAC won’t overturn the results of the St. Pierre fight. In the Burns Johnson case, Johnson was challenging the ruling that he had been knocked out. Johnson’s evidence was blatant video footage of Burns poking him in the eye. The NSAC kept the ruling of a Burns victory.
If B.J. is filing this complaint to achieve a rematch then he may be following the story of Alexis Arguello and Aaron Pryor. These two boxers met in the 1982, Pryor won the ‘Battle of the Champions’ with a technical knockout in the 14th round. However, in the intermission between the 13th and 14th rounds, Pryor’s trainer had called upon a special bottle, one that he had “mixed”, and this lead to speculation of a tainted bottle. The Miami Athletic Commission had not done a post fight urine test fueling the controversy. The two would fight again with Pryor repeating his victory but this time in the 10th round. Whatever the issue with the “mixed” bottle, it clearly had no effect on the outcome of the bouts between Pryor and Arguello.
Penn’s performance at UFC 94 was so poor he may be following in the footsteps of Arguello if a rematch is Penn’s goal.
Now if Penn’s goal is to make the rule violation by St. Pierre’s corner, part of the official record, he is free to do so. But the cost to Penn’s personal legacy may be greater than the result of an official citation.
The ball is in B.J. Penn’s court as the MMA community awaits his decision whether to proceed or not. Penn needs to take the time to ponder this decision very carefully. If there is no end game, other than some vain attempt at rebuilding ego, then Penn would be doing himself a disservice to follow through with the complaint.
In addition to being one of the new members of the MMAConvert.com team, Zak Woods is also the founder of the mixed martial arts blog WatchKalibRun.com.