UFC exec David Shaw answers why B.J. Penn was allowed to fight at UFC 237

RIO DE JANEIRO – It’s the question that lingered throughout UFC 237 fight week, no matter how often some tried to wish it away: Why was B.J. Penn allowed to fight?

The topic wasn’t necessarily broached because of the former UFC two-division champion’s presence on the roster despite going winless since 2010 – although that, too, is an issue exacerbated by his loss Saturday night to Clay Guida, which extended Penn’s losing streak to a record seven fights in a row.

Rather, it was about the propriety or lack thereof involved in allowing a fighter accused of domestic abuse allegations, and as the subject of a police investigation, to proceed with a scheduled fight as if nothing was going on. To that end, UFC vice president of international and content David Shaw said allowing Penn to compete as planned was a matter of being innocent until proven guilty.

“I think until there’s some sort of conclusion reached on that situation, and there’s information that comes to the forefront, I think that he’ll continue to have a plan to fight,” Shaw said during the UFC 237 post-fight news conference at Jeunesse Arena. 

Whether Penn will insist on continuing to fight after dropping to 1-9-1 in his past 11 and dipping below .500 in his UFC tenure is something entirely different.

“Now, I’m not sure having lost this fight, not having won one since 2010, that’s a pretty big skid,” Shaw said. “I’m not sure what he wants to do with his career. It’s something that next week we’ll try to figure out what the next step is, but at this point I don’t really know what that means.”

For complete coverage of UFC 237, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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