Big news coming out today on UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1 that former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn will be coming out of retirement to coach The Ultimate Fighter season 19 opposite Frankie Edgar.
The shocking cherry on top of that startling sundae is that their coaches' fight would be at 145 lbs, which is completely unknown ground for Penn.
Naturally, the entire MMA world blew up over the news, and reactions have been both many and mixed. First, let's see what our own Bleacher Report MMA crew had to say. Unsurprisingly, like the rest of the world, reactions ran the gamut:
So who's pretending to get geared up for BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar III? I want to at least see someone go through the motions of excitement!— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) September 11, 2013
Have to admit...that's pretty impressive. B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar as TUF coaches and at featherweight. Nice!— Duane Finley (@DuaneFinleyMMA) September 11, 2013
@crisco69 Yeah the fight doesn't make much sense to me either. Edgar already beat him twice.— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) September 12, 2013
Lead Writer Jeremy Botter had pointed words for all the naysayers that came out:
Today proves that you can never please MMA “fans”. Let’s all feign outrage because we're so cool! Yeah!— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) September 12, 2013
We aren’t happy with no-name fighters on free tv. We aren’t happy with fun rematches and returning legends. We just aren’t happy.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) September 12, 2013
Naturally, Bleacher Report wasn't the only site to offer sudden reactions to the news. The rest of the MMA media came out in force:
Really bad. No one wants to see BJ Penn lose again to Frankie Edgar. Never mind watch 13 weeks of reality tv leading up to it.— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) September 11, 2013
You guys realize that BJ Penn being "in shape" is only one part of the equation, right? There's also the part where he's going to be 35.— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) September 12, 2013
I'm very interested at the idea of Penn as a featherweight, but I'm not sure it improves his chances of beating Edgar. Still a tough matchup— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) September 11, 2013
Fighters, though, were were considerably more positive when it came to their reactions to the news. Strikeforce import and UFC lightweight contender Pat Healy had this to say:
WOW - BJ PENN AND FRANKIE EDGAR will coach next TUF!! http://t.co/fdxT5vSOgN— Chris Leben (@cripplerufc) September 12, 2013
This is awesome http://t.co/b6iGVZuliw— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) September 12, 2013
Frankie Edgar's training partner, WSOF bantamweight fighter Marlon Moraes, gave a shout-out to his buddy:
Our own Damon Martin brought us a great tidbit of news in the middle of the action:
TUF 19 will feature middleweights and light heavyweights. Filming begins in mid-October for Frankie and BJ Penn #UFC— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) September 12, 2013
While the weight divisions and taping are set, fans will have to wait on news regarding contestants. They can, however, look for the series to debut sometime in April 2014.
Stick with Bleacher Report for more information on TUF 19 as it approaches, and make sure to keep an eye out for our TUF 18 coverage!