After BJ Penn’s title fight with Frankie Edgar on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi some people questioned whether the Hawaiian was 100% fit after producing a performance that was below that which we had seen in his previous dominant performances.
Today Penn’s coach Rudi Valentino confirmed to the CagePotato website that the fighter had been, “battling a sinus infection and was on antibiotics, so he was not one hundred percent. I’m not making any excuses, that is just what happened.”
He went on to add, “When he gets sick, some people recover quickly but it took awhile, a couple weeks to recover. He wasn’t able to train for a couple weeks so that makes it tougher.”
Despite that, Valentino stated that he, like a number of others including this writer, had believed that Penn had done enough to win the first three rounds, and therefore should still be the champion.
The coach also revealed Penn’s initial reaction after losing the fight.
“When we got back into the locker room BJ said ‘Sorry guys.’ He did the best he could after being sick and all of that. He said, “I did the best I could. I couldn’t get things off and going. I wanted to do something and couldn’t get it to come out.”
Now that the dust is settling on the events of that night it appears that Penn is in no doubt about who he wants to fight next.
“We are now just waiting for Dana to give us the call for Frankie Edgar again,” Valentino said, adding, “I was talking to BJ and we are looking for a straight automatic rematch. We don’t know when but we’d like it in Hawaii.”
And as for talk of Penn moving up to 170lbs, his coach says that plan is on the backburner, at least for the time being.
“There is no moving up right now. That is not in our plans. BJ wanted to have another fight in 155 after Edgar before trying welterweight again. I just spoke to him and he has no plans to move up again.”
Personally I agree with the feeling that Penn should be awarded an immediate rematch. The report of the sinus infection doesn’t sway me one way or the other, but considering that the result was probably the closest and most controversial in a title fight since the now infamous Lyoto Machida Vs Shogun Rua decision last year, it seems only fair that the two should fight again as soon as can be arranged.