Police investigating Penn allegations

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BJ Penn told a mixed martial arts podcast Monday night that allegations of sexual assault that put his plans for a return to fighting on hold “definitely hurt my heart.”

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BJ Penn told a mixed martial arts podcast Monday night that allegations of sexual assault that put his plans for a return to fighting on hold “definitely hurt my heart.”

A Hawaii Police Department spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday the department last week received a report filed Feb. 16 with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio. Based on the report’s content, the department has opened a second-degree sex assault investigation against the former two-division UFC champion. The spokeswoman wouldn’t identify any of the parties involved, but Pedro Alex Carrasco, the former editor of BJPenn.com, in February accused Penn of sexually assaulting Carrasco’s girlfriend last August on the Big Island.

No charges have been filed, and the Tribune-Herald is withholding the name of the alleged victim.

The 37-year-old Penn, who is scheduled to fight Dennis Siver, also 37, on June 4 at UFC 199 in Los Angeles, denied the allegations shortly afterward and said Carrasco was attempting to extort him.

“Penn trusted Pedro to run his website for almost a decade and considered him family,” a statement posted on Penn’s website in February said. “He was fired last year for unethical behavior and was provided a severance that ended on February 16, 2016. One day later allegations appeared in a one sided Twitter rant which happened to be many months after the alleged date in question.”

It was reported last week that Penn would be coming out of retirement to fight Siver.

The UFC said after the allegations were made in February that Penn’s comeback would be delayed pending an investigation. In a statement last week, the UFC said the fight would go forward after its law firm, Campbell and Williams, conducted its own probe. It said the UFC “reserves the right to reevaluate the situation should new information be made available.”

Appearing on “The MMA Hour” podcast, Penn didn’t go into detail about the allegations but said the situation “definitely hurt my heart.”

“People know who I am, and what you see is what you get with me,” Penn told host Ariel Helwani. “I’m just a family man, I’ve got two kids, and you know, that’s it. I wish I could get into more, but I’m sure my lawyers wouldn’t appreciate that.

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“I’m just very glad that the UFC did its investigation with an outside company, and I’m just very glad it’s done. That’s as much as I can say. I’m very glad it’s done. I’m very disappointed in how everything happened between me and my former employee. But besides that, I’m very glad that I get a chance to get back in the octagon.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.

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