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It was like ‘Final Destination’ - B.J. Penn injured, nearly died in freak wave pool incident

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B.J. Penn details how he got injured and nearly died while surfing in a wave pool.

BJ Penn during an open-workout in Manila, Philippines — Photo by Anton Tabuena Anton Tabuena

B.J. Penn has recently revealed that he got seriously injured last year while he was in a wave pool, of all places. The former two-division UFC champion detailed the unusual incident, which he likened to the movie series Final Destination.

Penn says he nearly died and suffered multiple fractures, after likely being the first person to ever get sucked into the engine room of a wave pool.

“Last year when I got sucked into a wave pool engine room and thought I was going to die. I kept thinking ‘don’t die for your kids’,” Penn wrote on Instagram.

“I was surfing for about an hour and the line started getting longer to catch the wave. I was sitting next to the owner of the wave pool by the ‘wall’ where the waves come from,” he explained. “The first wave it shoots out is a dud to get everyone ready for the next wave. The dud wave came back and because I was so close to the wall the wave swallowed me and pushed me and my surfboard underneath a huge cement wall. I remember feeling like I was getting sucked in a pipe and at that moment I got scared.

“It ended up pushing me into a big dark cement room that fills up with water to push the next wave for the wave pool. It felt like I was in the movie SAW or Final destination. The room would fill up with water to the top and I would hold my breath and then it would push the water out to make the wave and it was really rough inside there.”

Penn also posted photos of himself in the hospital, and explained that the freak incident had him dealing with fractures and infections for weeks.

“Everything I bumped up against in the room that hurt me got infected. I got a bad sinus infection and a couple facial fractures from getting knocked around the cement walls and from the fractures the dirty water got in my face and infected my whole sinus. I was on antibiotics for three weeks for my face.

“While I was in the wave pool engine room I knew that one of my friends outside from big island is a legendary surfer and I knew he would come in there to rescue me so I stayed calm. A lot of other people might have panicked and maybe gave up but I just stayed strong for my kids. Anyway to make a long story short I survived that mother fucker !!”

Penn credits his fighting career for helping him survive a tough situation, and says he isn’t planning on suing the waterpark.

“The name of the people and water park have been left out. I not the kine guy shows up to your house to play and gets hurt and tries to sue you so all love ❤️ to everyone who helped me get there and helped me survive ,” Penn wrote.

“Maybe I was the first guy in history to get sucked into a wave pool engine room while it is in operation but no matter what happens in life and no matter how scary it is if I can offer you any advice I would just say to ‘stay calm.’ If I didn’t fight tough cunts my whole life I might have panicked, but it was just another day in the office”

Penn, 42, was released by the UFC in 2019 after yet another street fight in Hawaii, which is just one of many incidents and controversies he had outside of the Octagon. While considered as a top pound-for-pound fighter during his prime, Penn ended his UFC career going winless in his last eight fights.