BJ Penn says he’s ready to fight for Hawaii as governor

  • BJ Penn

Former UFC fighter BJ Penn on Monday announced on Instagram that he will be running for governor of Hawaii.

Paired with an edited clip from the 2006 film “300,” Penn’s Instagram statement says he plans to lift all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates to heal Hawaii’s economy and residents.


“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but I would never run from a fight or sell out my people,” Penn wrote. “As soon as I step into Hawaii’s Governor office I will remove all new federal and state mandates that have been hurting our economy, residents, and ‘ohana.”

If elected governor, Penn said he would bring in more health care options to the state to continue to battle COVID-19 while also removing any vaccine passport requirements.

“We will get the best doctors, medicines, therapies, and health care the world has to offer to fight this pandemic and always keep Hawaii among the safest and healthiest states in the union,” Penn wrote. “We will get rid of all vaccine passports. Hawaii will be a vaccinated with Aloha and unvaccinated with Aloha policy for everyone. Same with masks.”

In a separate video, Penn said he is running to give the people of Hawaii their freedoms back.

He did not specify which political party he would represent.

Penn has had several run-ins with the law over the years, including a recent arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol following a belligerent encounter in Honokaa caught on video on Jan. 23 this year.

Penn, whose legal name is Jay D. Penn Jr., was charged with DUI for the incident via penal summons late last month and is scheduled for arraignment and plea on Oct. 21 in Hilo District Court.

Others expected to run for governor are Lt. Gov. Josh Green and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Vicky Cayetano, wife of former Gov. Ben Cayetano, officially announced her candidacy for governor on Aug. 30.


Hawaii’s primary election will be held Saturday, Aug. 13.

Email Kelsey Walling at

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