So much for the idea of BJ Penn heading back to his old American Kickboxing Academy stomping grounds for a little bit of training before his bout with Rory MacDonald, whenever it happens.
Penn, who worked with Dave Camarillo and Bob Cook at AKA back in the mid 90s, recently said he was interested in getting in a little bit of training time at his former gym, but hinted that one AKA stalwart wasn't keen on the idea, as reported by Tim Burke of bloodyelbow.com. Penn said:
We’re over here in Honolulu right now, training. We’re gonna be here for a month, and then we’re gonna see where we’re gonna train next month. We’re trying to get up to AKA, but Fitch is trying to give me some problems about that. And all Jon Fitch has to do is look on the wall [at AKA]. Whose picture is on the wall holding the belt? That’s all Jon Fitch has to know.
Why does Fitch have a problem with the idea of Penn coming in for training? Well, it seems there are some bad feelings still lingering from the controversial and closely-contested draw between the fighters back at UFC 127 in early 2011.
And make no mistake about it. There are indeed bad feelings lingering about, especially from Fitch. Check out his comments from Tuesday's conference call designed to promote the new AKA reality show Fight Factory, which debuts August 15 on NuvoTV:
Here at AKA, we've got fighters who come out to fight, fighters who will face anyone and don't hide from any opponents. You've also got cowards out there like BJ Penn who say they want to fight people, but then they run and hide.
He's a coward. He wouldn't be welcomed here.
Well, then. It looks like Penn won't be returning to AKA any time soon, or at least as long as Fitch is around. We rarely hear Fitch turn up the heat like this.
And it sounds to me like Fitch still wants that do-over with Penn. He might get the chance down the road, but he first needs to get past Brazilian super-prospect Erick Silva at UFC 153 in October. That's far from a sure thing, of course. But if Fitch can do it, perhaps we'll see him line up across the cage from Penn one more time.