BJ Penn, governor of Hawaii? UFC legend wants a political fight against COVID mandates

The Underground
bj penn
May 11, 2019; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; BJ Penn (red gloves) reacts to fight against Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC 237 at Jeunesse Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last year, we have seen former UFC greats take their talents to other combat sports. However, former lightweight superstar BJ Penn seems to have his eyes set on the governor’s mansion in his home state of Hawaii.

Penn, 42, has had a long and hard fall from grace in the world of mixed martial arts. The former two-division champion and perennial pound-for-pound talent saw a once stellar Octagon career come to a miserable end two years ago, after a video of him being knocked out outside a Hawaiian nightclub went viral.

“The Prodigy’s” release from the organization came as no surprise, considering his viral KO followed a ten-year winless run and a seven-fight losing streak. Since his unceremonious departure from the promotion that made him an MMA legend, Penn has maintained a lower profile and kept his connection with fans and media centered around various social media posts. In September, he made headlines in one Instagram post when he called himself “The greatest of all f*ckin time.”

BJ Penn for governor of Hawaii?

On Monday, Penn made a new bold and shocking proclamation via his Instagram. Writing in the caption of a video clip from the film 300, that he has an interest in running for governor of Hawaii. As well as explaining the platform he would run on. That being to get Hawaiians their “freedoms back” and rid the state of the COVID-related mandates that have been hurting Hawaii’s “economy, residents, and ‘ohana.”

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but I would never run from a fight or sell out my people,” Penn wrote. “As soon as I step into Hawaii’s Governor’s office I will remove all new federal and state mandates that have been hurting our economy, residents, and ‘ohana. We will get the best doctors, medicines, therapies, and health care the world has to offer to fight this pandemic and always keep Hawaii among the safest and healthiest states in the union. We will get rid of all vaccine passports. Hawaii will be a vaccinated with Aloha and Unvaccinated with Aloha policy for everyone. Same with the masks. We will follow the constitution to the tee. I am not here to fit in with the other politicians, I am here to get our freedoms back.”

The state’s current top elected official, David Ige, recently issued another emergency proclamation to extend the requirement for state and county employees to be vaccinated and maintained restrictions on the size of social gatherings and requirements that masks be worn indoors. Breaking those rules could carry maximum penalties of a year in prison and fines of $5, 000.

Penn would not be the first former UFC talent to make a run for, or win public office. Last year, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz was elected to the Huntington Beach, Calif. city council. However, he resigned from the post eight months later, claiming “character assassination” following several public hiccups during his time as a government official.

Penn (16-14-2) last fought in May 2019. Losing by unanimous decision to long-time lightweight stalwart Clay Guida. He has not won a cage fight since November 2010.

What do you think are Penn’s chances of actually running for governor in Hawaii?


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