UFC fighter taps out of visit to Spam Museum
UFC lovers and Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts almost got a big surprise Wednesday: UFC fighter B.J. Penn was supposed to tour Austin’s Spam Museum.
Penn, a Hawaii native, was scheduled to receive a personal tour with his brother and cousin after giving a demonstration at Eagan-based Ambition Training Academy, a gym which offers martial arts classes, over the weekend.
His trip down Spam avenue was cut short when he learned his flight to Toronto, Canada, was a day earlier than he anticipated. UFC 129 takes place in Toronto this Saturday, although Penn wasn’t scheduled to fight.
“He was bummed out this morning,” said Mark Dale, co-owner of ATA. Dale had organized the trip to Austin but had to cancel at the last minute.
Dale’s partner, Joey Clark, is one of Penn’s personal coaches along with Clark’s brother Jake. Dale said Penn liked the demonstration at ATA and wanted to come back to Minnesota the next time he traveled to the continental U.S. Penn would come see the Spam museum then, according to Dale.
“He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, let’s go to the Spam museum!’” Dale said.
Hawaii is known for its massive consumption of Spam, the premier food product of Hormel Foods Corp.
Penn, who’s coming off a draw at UFC 127 to fellow welterweight Jon Fitch, was scheduled to face Fitch once more at UFC 132, but both competitors pulled out. There is no word who Penn will fight next.
Penn is a world-renowned expert in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a wrestling style focused on ground-based submissions and pins. Aside from being a former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, Penn is famous for receiving a black belt in BJJ in three years, whereas most black belts train for 10 years or more to receive the same recognition. He was the first non-Brazilian champion of the World Jiu-Jutsu Championship in 2000 in the black-belt category.