The UFC has made it clear that it is not interested in helping promote BJ Penn’s political career.
During the UFC 276 broadcast at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, the former two-division UFC champion appeared on screen dressed in a black cap and a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “BJ Penn for Governor” that was blurred out
The former two-division UFC champion was present at UFC 276 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, where he showed up dressed in a black cap and a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Penn for Governor.” However, when Penn appeared on screen during the broadcast, the T-shirt had been blurred out, rendering it illegible to the audience watching at home.
The "BJ Penn for Governor" shirt got blurred out pic.twitter.com/ZQFFaHX3lV— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) July 3, 2022
enn officially announced his intention to run for governor of Hawaii as Republican alongside four other GOP candidates in April with the aim of replacing incumbent Democratic Governor David Ige, who is term-limited and ineligible to run for a third term in office.
Penn joined the GOP after finding his political fervor during the pandemic. The former fighter spoke out against mask mandates and vaccine restrictions, promising to lift them if elected governor.
However, Penn’s campaign has also been criticized for a lack of political direction. Since most restrictions have been lifted over the course of the past few months, Penn has not updated his gubernatorial goals. His official campaign website does not list any goals, though it invites Hawaiians to “join the fight” and donate to his campaign.
Penn remains active on social media and is using his platform of more than 360,000 followers on Instagram to attack U.S. President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, as well as his fellow candidates. He has also spread misinformation about the global pandemic and spoke in opposition of gun control following the Uvalde elementary school shooting that led to the deaths of 19 children and two teachers.
While Penn’s campaign is alarming at best, it remains unclear why the UFC (or ESPN) opted to blur out the slogan. The organization has repeatedly hosted political figures at their events over the past few years, including former president Donald Trump and controversial Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
The UFC has even gone so far as to produce a Trump propaganda documentary entitled “Combatant in Chief,” which was promptly removed from the UFC Fight Pass streaming service following the January 6 insurrection.