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Former UFC champion and Hall of Famer claims CTE is ‘fake’

UFC 276: Lawler v Barberena Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight (and Welterweight) champion, B.J. Penn, recently claimed that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) — defined as, “a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and repeated blows to the head — is fake.

“What is CTE again?” Penn wrote on social media. “Did Ali have that? What about Jim Brown — did he have that? CTE is as fake as the coronavirus.”

While there have not been many cases of CTE in mixed martial arts (MMA) because the sport is still so young, in the coming years, long-time MMA fans could witness their heroes battle it. In fact, former UFC Heavyweight champion, Josh Barnett, believes Phil Baroni killed his wife because of CTE. And former UFC fighter, Tim Hague, was diagnosed with CTE after he died in 2017.

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of hours of evidence that CTE is real, so the fact that “The Prodigy” thinks it is fake is worrisome. For what it’s worth, his former opponent, Diego Sanchez, doesn’t believe in CTE, either.

Penn, 44, has been retired since 2019 when he went on a seven-fight losing skid and was released from UFC after getting slept outside a Hawaii bar. He has now turned his attention to politics, which isn’t going well, either.

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