I recently wrote the first extensive, in-depth review of BJ Penn's new book Why I Fight, and wanted to share an excerpt with you. Why I Fight is truly one of the better MMA fighter autobiographies out there, and despite having no support from the UFC, just made the NY Times Best-Sellers List:
So without further delay, here is an excerpt of my Why I FIght review:
BJ paints a colorful picture of his childhood, in which he generally raised hell while hopping around beautiful Hilo, Hawaii.
Hilo looks like paradise on TV, but it prepared BJ well for the rough-and-tumble world of MMA. Getting into street fights, holding boxing matches on one’s front porch, and jumping off 80-foot cliffs are apparently all great way to prepare yourself for competing in a violent, unpredictable sport.
After turning 18, BJ was shipped off to California to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ralph Gracie. Under Gracie, Penn significantly advanced his BJJ skills and began making waves in California’s competition circuit.
And this is where Why I Fight turns into one of the best MMA books ever written.
BJ was among the most-hyped rookies in MMA history – a rare fighter that made his professional debut inside the UFC’s famed octagon. Thus, every detail of Penn’s MMA career has been painstakingly detailed by the MMA blogosphere.
But what we haven’t heard is details regarding BJ’s jiu-jitsu days beyond what old training partners have mentioned on forums, and from what we’ve read in the few old interviews that are out there. And this is where Why I Fight gets really interesting, and surpasses other MMA autobiographies.
BJ reveals which member of the Gracie family was crazily rooting against him at the 1999 Mundials. And how well Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta’s first BJJ lesson went. And how the Gracie Barra guys behaved at tournaments. And what it was like to fight a referee that previously disqualified him from a tournament.
And so on. And so on. And so on.
Read my full review of BJ Penn's Why I Fight