B.J. Penn is refusing to concede the Hawaii governor primary election despite losing the race by a wide margin.
The former UFC champion and Hall of Famer secure enough support to receive the GOP nomination for Hawaii governor, garnering less than 25 percent of the vote in Saturday’s election.
Penn finished well behind former two-time Republican Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona, who secured more than 51 percent of the total vote. Aiona will proceed with his gubernatorial campaign against current Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who will represent the Democratic party in the Nov. 8 general election.
Yet despite Aiona’s clear victory, Penn is seemingly refusing to concede the election.
“It’s not over,” Penn’s campaign wrote on Instagram. “We are not conceding.”
BJ Penn's team reports that he is not conceding. pic.twitter.com/ZmWHvoJjRk— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) August 14, 2022
During Saturday’s primary election, Penn alleged that voter suppression was taking place in Maui and Kailua-Kona.
Penn announced his intention to run for governor of Hawaii in October 2021, focusing his efforts on resisting government-mandated covid-19 protocols and restrictions. The fighter offered no policy initiatives in his campaign and did little other than spread Republican talking points about abortion and the second amendment on his social media accounts.
It is also worth noting that Penn has been arrested on numerous occasions over the past few years. In 2015, Penn was arrested and charged with assault for fighting outside a local bar. In 2019, Penn’s former girlfriend filed a restraining order alleging years of physical and sexual abuse. Months later, Penn was involved in a bar fight in Hawaii which led to him being released from the UFC.
In January 2021, Penn was arrested and charged with DUI.
It remains unclear how Penn plans to contest the primary results, particularly given the wide margin between himself and Aiona.