UFC Fighter BJ Penn Almost Died After Being Sucked Into Wave Pool Engine Room

BJ Penn Wave Pool

BJ Penn just can’t catch a break. And that’s not even accounting for his decade-long losing streak inside the Octagon. The former UFC Lightweight Champion and Hall of Famer has – as the kids say – been going through it for a hot minute; from grappling with substance abuse issues, an ongoing paternity lawsuit, to being knocked out cold by some out-of-shape random in a drunken street brawl. Taking to Instagram yesterday, BJ Penn revealed one of his latest setbacks in life, which involved a near-death experience in a wave pool engine room.

“Last year when I got sucked into a wave pool engine room and thought I was going to die… I kept thinking, ‘Don’t die for your kids’,” The Prodigy himself details.

“I was surfing for about an hour and the line started getting longer to catch the wave. I was sitting next to the owner of the wave pool by the “wall” where the waves come from.”

“The first wave it shoots out is a dud to get everyone ready for the next wave. The dud wave came back and because I was so close to the wall, the wave swallowed me and pushed me and my surfboard underneath a huge cement wall.”



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“I remember feeling like I was getting sucked in a pipe and at that moment I got scared. It ended up pushing me into a big dark cement room that fills up with water to push the next wave for the wave pool. It felt like I was in the movie SAW or Final Destination.”

“The room would fill up with water to the top and I would hold my breath and then it would push the water out to make the wave and it was really rough inside there. Everything I bumped up against in the room that hurt me got infected. I got a bad sinus infection and a couple facial fractures from getting knocked around the cement walls… the dirty water got in my face and infected my whole sinus. I was on antibiotics for three weeks for my face.”

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“While I was in the wave pool engine room, I knew that one of my friends outside from big island is a legendary surfer, and I knew he would come in there to rescue me so I stayed calm. A lot of other people might have panicked and maybe gave up but I just stayed strong for my kids.”

In typical BJ Penn fashion, he credited fighting “tough cunts” his entire life for surviving the wave pool engine room – among other factors, like his mate sweeping in for the rescue – chalking it up to “just another day in the office.” As you will have noticed, our down-on-his-luck pugilist also had the courtesy to redact any names and identifiers, for the purposes of avoiding a witch hunt (“I’m not the kind of guy that shows up to your house to play and gets hurt and tries to sue, so all love.”).

“Anyway to make a long story short, I survived that motherfucker… Maybe I was the first guy in history to get sucked into a wave pool engine room while it is in operation but no matter what happens in life and no matter how scary it is, if I can offer you any advice, I would just say to stay calm.”