After B.J. Penn suffered his third loss to Frankie Edgar in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale (video) this past weekend (Sun., July 6, 2014), questions began to rise regarding the baffling gameplan for "The Prodigy."
The upright and rigid striking stance was terribly new for the 35-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran.
Many questioned the strategy because it obviously proved to be the wrong one after Penn failed to muster any offense. It also left him vulnerable to the "The Answer's" take downs. Unfortunately, some of the blame for the bizarre gameplan was aimed toward Jason Parillo, Penn's longtime coach.
But, Parillo is not the man responsible for setting the gameplan for the Edgar trilogy match.
"I would never in a million years develop that new style. Never in a million years.I got called a week before the fight to work his corner for the fight, so I, myself, hadn't spent time in camp at all with B.J. ... I answered yes automatically because he's my friend. So I didn't know. They explained to me kind of the gameplan the week of the fight, and I was actually rooming with his boxing coach the whole week, so I was listening to him, talking to him about what they were doing. At that point, it's not my position to make any adjustments, like, ‘no, no, no, let's do this, let's do that,' because it's too late for that. It's too late. He's been doing this shit for two years. What, am I going to come in the week of the fight and change a whole gameplan? Change a whole style around? That's not going to happen, nor does B.J. want me to make that happen. He doesn't want that to happen, he wants to go in there with want they have planned."
Parillo revealed that since they were at odds on the new fighting stance, the best decision would be to not have him in camp. But, after Penn called him prior to the fight to be in his corner, Parillo didn't hesitate to accept the invite. Even though it was hard for him to watch his friend try to execute a strategy that wasn't working.
But, as he explained, once Penn is set on something, he sticks with it.
"Everybody and their mother is calling me up going, what the fuck? They're going, 'what the fuck, Jay? What is that?' And I'm like, 'I don't know.' If you can see it (not working) on TV, I can imagine how the audience is seeing it. But, you know, that's B.J. B.J. gets something set in his head and he likes it, and apparently it was working for him in the gym, so he wanted to go from there. I wanted him bending his knees. It's called sitting down on your punch in boxing, and that way you can use your legs to help with your head movement, help with your footwork, help with all this stuff. He just says he doesn't like that style anymore because it made him too tired. So at the end of the day, what can I do? He's my friend and I've got to support him. I always have and I always will."
After the fight, Penn officially announced his retirement from MMA, tying a ribbon around on his 14-year combat sports career.
On the heels of this revelation, one can't help but to wonder if the outcome would have been different if Parillo had been in Penn's camp from the onset.