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BJ Penn hospitalized and under DUI investigation after single-vehicle crash in Hawaii

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UFC icon B.J. Penn was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash last Friday.

UFC 237: Penn v Guida Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Big Island Now has reported that UFC Hall of Famer, and former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, B.J. Penn was involved in a traffic incident at around 7PM local time on February 7th in Hilo, Hawaii.

That outlet stated that, while Penn was driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, he was involved in a single-vehicle crash on Hilo’s Route 11. Authorities claimed the truck was speeding, lost control and then flipped over into a plaza outside of a shopping mall.

Penn was the only occupant of the vehicle. He was transported to Hilo Medical Center via ambulance after the crash. The extent of Penn’s injuries are unknown.

Due to new state law local police were unable to administer a blood alcohol content (BAC) test at the scene. The new law requires a search warrant before drawing blood from a driver who is involved in a single-vehicle traffic incident. The new law is intended to make sure that medical attention takes precedence over any kind of sobriety test.

When there are multiple vehicles and/or victims, BAC tests can be administered at the scene. In Hawaii BAC results are invalid if procured more than three hours after an incident.

Captain Ken Quiocho of the Hawaii Police Department said that a blood sample was taken from Penn once he was at hospital. Quiocho did not disclose the results of the subsequent blood test. However, Quiocho shared that the results of the blood test prompted his department to open a DUI investigation into Penn.

As a mixed-martial-artist Penn was one of the most popular and impactful figures in the sport throughout the 2000s. He won his first UFC title after submitting Matt Hughes for the 170 lb belt at UFC 46 in 2004. He was stripped of the title due to a contract dispute. After returning to the UFC in 2006 he had back-to-back losses to Georges’ St-Pierre and Hughes (who was then champion), before deciding to drop down to the lightweight division.

As a lightweight Penn won the vacant title after submitting Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 in 2008. He successfully defended the belt versus Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez before losing the title to Frankie Edgar in 2010. He lost a rematch to Edgar and then beat his old foe Hughes via KO at UFC 123 in 2010.

That 2010 victory was Penn’s last win inside the cage. He drew his first fight after that, versus Jon Fitch, but then he went on an eight-year losing streak that included defeats to Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, Edgar, Yair Rodriguez, Dennis Siver, Ryan Hall and Clay Guida.

Penn was scheduled to fight Nik Lentz last year. However that match-up was canceled, and Penn was released from the UFC, after two videos surfaced showing a seemingly intoxicated Penn fighting outside of bars.

In 2019 a former girlfriend of Penn was granted a restraining order against him. The order, which prohibited Penn from contact with her and their children, claimed Penn had committed physical and sexual abuse. The order is set to run until October 2021.