B.J. Penn released by the UFC

Former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion B.J. Penn has been released by the UFC, signaling the end of his on-off career with the promotion after 18 years.

Yahoo Sports first reported Penn had been released from his contract by UFC President Dana White.

This comes amid a series of reports – and video – of Penn getting into a bar fight in his native Hawaii. When asked about Penn’s fighting future in professional capacity earlier this month, White told ESPN: “He won’t fight again… that’s it.”

Before that, Penn has been rumoured to be fighting Nik Lentz next under the UFC banner.

Retirement talk has surrounded Penn for years. “The Prodigy” has not been enjoying his best fighting form, having not won a fight for almost nine years. During that time, he’s dropped seven losses – two by knockout – and drew one fight.

It’s a far cry from the performances Penn put on to make him a fan favourite and earn his spot on the UFC Hall of Fame.

Penn boasts a couple of wins over UFC welterweight pioneer Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, Jens Pulver, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. He also has the tied-most UFC lightweight title defences in promotion history.

We will have to wait and see what’s next for Penn after this news broke.