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Why I Fight: The Belt Is Just an Accessory Hardcover – April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061803650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061803659
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Street fighting.
Brazilian jujitsu.
Grappling.
Welcome to BJ Penn's island. (Don't worry, he won't hurt you . . . much.)

For the last decade, BJ Penn has been one of the most successful and feared fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). People have been quick to judge, praise, criticize, and hype him, trying to understand what makes him the provocative and controversial fighter that he is.

Why I Fight is the answer that critics, fans, commentators, and pundits have been waiting for. In his own words, Penn explains what led a scrappy teenager from the rough streets of Hilo, Hawaii, onto the biggest stage in all of mixed martial arts. In life, just like in the Octagon, he has never been one to back down from a fight.

A blunt and brutal look at his hardest-fought victories and his most frustrating defeats, Why I Fight is the story of how BJ Penn became one of only two fighters in UFC history to hold belts in two different weight classes. It is the story of a kid from Hawaii who loved to fight. It is the story of a true prodigy.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

BJ Penn is a former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion and is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. In 2000, he became the first and only non-Brazilian-born winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black belt category. Penn is only the second fighter (after Randy Couture) to win UFC titles in two different weight classes. He lives in Hilo, Hawaii.


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Customer Reviews

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This is the first book I have read that is written by a fighter.
O. Gonzales
I currently train with a ralph gracie bb and it was good to get his side of the story on the training and eventual fall out he had with ralph.
Amazon Customer
I just felt like the book was missing something that I really couldn't put my finger on.
Bravoecho

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Comeau on April 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Frankly, I can't believe how good this book was. I was expecting the safe (ironic for people who risk their necks fighting in a cage), bland, cliche-ridden writing we usually see in MMA autobiographies, but there's none of that here.

BJ lets it all hang out here, providing an extremely detail-oriented recounting of his life story, ranging from his childhood to his BJJ career to his current status as one of the greatest MMA fighters in history.

This book is the polar opposite of [...], where BJ dispenses information in 30-second bursts. Why I Fight is a veritable encyclopedia of information about the MMA and BJJ worlds, and BJ never shies away from controversial topics like hairy negotiations with the UFC.

Why I Fight is absolutely, positively a must-buy for MMA fans. We simply haven't seen this level of detail regarding the MMA industry from anyone, and BJ's perspective is particularly interesting because he went from rookie to all-time great in just a few short years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rizzle2d on June 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge BJ Penn fan, but wasn't quite sure what the book was going to be like. This book pretty much takes you from BJ's early life to the present. Also through all of his fights, his training leading up, and his thoughts about them. If you want to know the story of the Gracie vs. Penn saga and how BJ went from BJJ star to UFC star, then definitely this is what you want. It's peppered with BJ's comments on all the stuff inbetween. BJ doesn't seem to hold much animosity towards people that you think he would e.g. Gracie's or people he fought. Seems pretty clear that he talks most of the trash leading up to fights, after the fact he seems pretty respectful.

I had heard his argument on "Greasegate" prior to this book, but I think it's interesting to read in the written word. Maybe it's more compelling to hear his case once you read about his BJJ background and how remarkable his accomplishments really were. But to me, it made me side with BJ a little more. Even I noticed in the fight right away that BJ's legs seemed to be sliding right down GSP's back when in full guard. Water under the bridge at this point, but I think BJ made his point a little better in this book.

The part that is hilarious is that BJ DEFINITELY doesn't like the way the UFC does business. I tend to believe the stories in there though. He said Dana White was a lightweight when he started out in the UFC and had no clue what he was doing. Not as cocky as he is now. He pretty much said that the UFC will talk a good game on protecting the fighters, but is really out to screw em and he gives multiple examples how...not much surprise though. What I found funny was that he kept referring to Dana White as a guy that taught Aerobic Boxing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge BJ Penn fan and I have followed his fighting career for quite some time. I was really excited to get this book, and while it was not a disappointing read, it was far from a rewarding read. There are some insights into BJ's life and what led him to the path in the UFC and this book outlines his fights and competitions, but the reading is pretty dry and lacks the feel of a real biographical story. It reads so much more like a timeline/outline of his life in the ring and the octagon. I don't expect BJ to be as good at telling stories as he is at fighting, but I did expect that his co-author Weintraub would actually read and edit the book. There are spelling errors in the final print, there are numerous grammar errors and there are numerous paragraphs within certain chapters that seem redundant and express an idea that was just stated or the sentences say the exact same thing over and over with a few different words.
If you are a BJ Penn fan I would suggest getting this book, but if you are a casual UFC fan or just an avid reader, pass on this title and save the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Benavidez II on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
BJ Penn is really misunderstood. Why is he silent and lacking on information in interviews is answered in this book. It is great to get into the mind of Penn, and to see how he started. The UFC always says he had lots of money growing up, but in the book money doesn't play a factor.

This book is great from start to finish. You just don't want it to end, but hey he is still young there may be more to come.
I think he is the most tallented MMA fighter of our generation. Being part Hawaiian myself I feel inspired by the Hilo kid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sonny Singh on May 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been an ardent fan of BJ Penn when he first started his UFC career and always respected the fact that he came from a solid BJJ background. BJ to me, represents the true spirit of a fighter (or at least, how one should carry themselves inside and outside the wrong). His strong commitment to his family, his sponsors (e.g. RVCA), the preservation and promotion of the Hawaiian culture and the purity of the sport is second to none.

Therefore, getting the book was a no-brainer. Though the book started off somewhat slow, it definitely picks up steam as it progresses. I admired BJ's candid thoughts about his own shortcomings (e.g. constant battle with weight) and his issues with the UFC Management Team (e.g. Dana White). While most UFC fighters tend to play the safe card when criticizing Dana White since he is ultimately paying their bills, I respected BJ Penn for laying it all out on the line. Do I hate Dana White? Absolutely not...at the end of the day, he has a business to run and increase his bottom line and the fighters he "sells" and "promotes" are commodities when all things are said and done (in the UFC's mind). However, Kudos again to BJ for speaking his mind.

It would have been nice if Weintraub had also interviewed more people in BJ's life including family members, fellow fighters and childhood friends to get a complete perspective on his life.

Regardless, this is an engaging book (proof in point that it took be 3 days to read through it) I recommend to any fan off MMA, jiu-jitsu and of course BJ Penn.

Regarding BJ's recent loss to Frankie Edgar (another great fighter who deserves the utmost respect), there is no doubt in my mind he will get his belt back in their forthcoming fight.
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