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The controversy over BJ Penn’s new book

I wasn’t all that interested in BJ Penn’s new book … until I heard that Dana White and the gang were uber-pissed about it. While they haven’t done anything to BJ Penn other than call the book “90% lies” and rattle his lawyer’s cage a little, they did go after the poor bastard who co-authored the thing:

“I never thought for a second that the book would be received by the UFC in a way they wouldn’t want to promote it or help B.J. I never thought it would be like that,” said Weintraub, who worked with the UFC on video projects and penned articles for UFC magazine before he said he was was let go two weeks ago based upon his participation with the book. “I thought it would be something they read, reflected upon, and looked at how they owned this company. B.J. started at the same time they bought this company.”

Weintraub worked for New Jersey-based production group Exit 9 Films, shooting behind-the-scenes material used as bonus features on UFC DVDs and webisodes on Exit 9 Films confirmed Weintraub’s employment, but declined to speak about business related to the UFC, which goes back to the days of SEG and Bob Meyrowitz.

“I’m very happy I wrote the book but I’m also very disappointed the UFC decided to force my employer to cut me loose,” said Weintraub, who alleged UFC executive vice president of operations and production Craig Borsari told Exit 9 Films that Weintraub was “no longer welcome to work for the UFC.”

“The line was that I should have come to them before I did anything with one of their fighters, even though I’m not an employee of UFC’s and I work freelance,” he said. “They say that now, even though they were aware that I was writing the book.”

As for what was said that peeved off the UFC so much, the Baltimore Sun has a few things that might fit the bill:

Penn writes about how there would always be the one guy the UFC owners, the Fertittas brothers (Lorenzo and Frank) and White would give a lot of money to. They had their favorite fighters, like Pedro Rizzo and later on Chuck Liddell, who received much larger purses. Penn thought that their backgrounds did not make them good judges of talent. The Fertittas brothers were jujitsu white belts and White was a former aerobic “tae bo” instructor.

Penn also writes about his battles with the Gracie family (mostly Ralph Gracie) and many UFC fighters. Fighters like Sean Sherk, Jen Pulver and Matt Hughes, who he defeated at UFC 46. After he conquered Hughes, Penn wrote, “In Hughes’s corner was Lorenzo Fertitta, consoling him in his defeat, and it also seemed to me Dana White was not very happy that I had just knocked off Hughes.”

At the time, Penn was the welterweight champion and couldn’t work out a contract with the UFC, and had decided to instead fight his next fight in Japan. He alleges White called him up and told him his feelings. Penn wrote that White said, ‘“You [expletive deleted]! You’re [expletive deleted] done! You’ll never fight in the UFC again! You’re finished. You’re scorched earth, [expletive deleted]. Scorched earth. Don’t call me crying saying you want to come back because you’re [expletive deleted] done!” And on and on, like a true professional — even going so far as to tell me I would never see my face again in a UFC video, promotion, or anything else. He also planned on removing my fight with Hughes from the UFC 46: Supernatural DVD so no one would even know who I was.’

Hmmm. Profane, vindictive … that doesn’t sound like Dana White at all!