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Talks for B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian to headline UFC 101 in Philadelphia still tentative

Over the course of the past several days reports have been rampant suggesting that a UFC lightweight title defense by B.J. Penn against number one contender Kenny Florian is set to headline UFC 101 on August 8 in Philadelphia, PA. has spoke to sources close to the fighters and the venue within the last 24 hours and has confirmed that while talks are taking place, nothing is close to being finalized.

When contacted by Five Ounces of Pain, Greg Sirb, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, indicated that talks have indeed taken place regarding UFC 101 taking place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia on Aug. 8. However, he was quick to caution that the talks were only in the preliminary stages and that a date is not close to being finalized.

Sources close to Florian also have confirmed that UFC officials are pursuing a headliner for the potential show that would involve Penn defending his title vs. Florian. While Florian is believed to be amenable to the fight and the date, final approval is still pending from Penn’s camp.

Sources within Penn’s camp have also confirmed to Five Ounces of Pain that the Aug. 8 title defense is a possibility but nothing more at this stage.

If UFC 101 becomes official for Aug. 8, it could be one of two pay-per-views that would be held during the month. Sources have also informed Five Ounces of Pain that the UFC is exploring the possibility of holding UFC 102 on Saturday, August 29. The Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon is under consideration for an event that could feature former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture taking on former PRIDE heavyweight and ex-interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

  • Angry Mike says:

    I wonder if BJ will have his head straight for this. Florian will come with everything he has, and BJ was demoralized and beaten down in the GSP fight. I bet it takes him a long time to get past that one.

  • skwisgaar says:

    Hopefully, the loss to GSP will make him work that much harder. He’s got to realize that the UFC lightweight division is stacked and that everyone wants their shot at him.

  • RU486 says:

    When the fight finally happens, it will have been 15 months since BJ had defended his title. Every other time a defense has taken this long, an Interim Champ was crowned: Randy when Tito dodged Chuck, GSP when Serra was hurt, Nogueira when Randy retired, etc. I hope Kenny pounds his whiny ass into the mat, or better yet, chokes him out. BJ has all of the talent in the world, but he’s never been a true champion – calling out Sherk, and then GSP. If BJ does manage this one, Dana should please just make Penn/Aoki happen, and then BJ can retire humbled.

  • infosec-cynic says:

    Its quite sad to be honest, I’m resigning to the fact that BJ Penn will forever be remembered as the fighter who could have been great, but ultimately never achieved his full potential.

    RU486, you’re right, why should BJ be afforded the luxury of not defending his title for over 15 months? The lightweight division is picking up decent momentum and not having a champion can only be damaging in the long run.

    Maybe if Penn had a strong training camp and a good manager who would slap him around a bit to keep him focussed he would have been different… but thats in another life.

  • wardog says:

    Well he did fight GSP within those 15 months and did go up a weight class, so I will cut him slack and I think that’s what Dana is doing too. But as much as I like the Phili idea because I can go there, what’s with the 2 PPV’s in one month talk? I guess it worked in January and if Affliction is gone people will be able to spend more money? This does not make sense, especially given the country’s current economic situation.

  • If you look at it from the UFC’s perspective their numbers have been unbelievable so why not continue to capitalize on the recent growth. People are shelling out money in record spurts to attend live events and watch them from home. If 101 features Penn-Florian people will tune in to see which BJ Penn shows up. UFC 102 is going to feature 2 of the most popular UFC superstars of all time in Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin. I am so pissed that Griffin won’t be fighting in Philly, I was really looking forward to watching him fight live.

  • RU486 says:

    Also Bryan, 102 will have the fight that has been years in the making between Nog and Randy. No it’s not Randy vs. Fedor, but I don’t know if I’d even want to see that fight now anyway. I’m more interested in Fedor fighting Barnett and then possibly the winner of Lesnar/Mir. The “Fedor in the UFC” dream will probably never come to fruition, but it would be the highest grossing ppv of all time.

    With the sudden growth spurt of the UFC’s roster, multiple shows per month seems realistic. As long as the revenues keep coming in, they will keep having more shows. I expect to see monthly Fight Nights and PPVs every 3 weeks once the summer is over. And that doesn’t include the Spike TV cards that happen every six months or so and the TUF. The sport is really gaining steam in the mainstream, and there’s a new fanbase that is obsessively maniacal about it as we all were at one time, going back and watching every event in succession. I personally think it’s great. I will still buy about every 3rd ppv as I do now, and watch the other two in the bar with pals.

  • Shinning Light says:

    BJ Penn is the new Belfort. Both great boxers both excellent at ju juitsu, both promise so much and both tend to gas or hardly fight when you want them to give their best. GSP made Penn look like it was his first time in the cage, or was it Penn who did that? anyway you got one more chance to impress me Vito…I mean BJ, because I pick Florian to wipe the the octagon floor with you, even without the help of a little grease.


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