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Why I Fight: The Belt Is Just an Accessory

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  455 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Claiming that “the belt is just an accessory,” Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn explains Why I Fight in this honest, intimate, and fascinating memoir. Written with David Weintraub, Why I Fight is an unforgettable portrait of one of the top and most recognizable mixed martial artists in the UFC and an up-close look at one of the most excit ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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Jason Slovak
May 04, 2010 Jason Slovak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through the Goodreads First-Reads giveaway program. So, a big "Thank You" to both Goodreads and the publisher for this book!

I've been an MMA/UFC fan for a while now and pretty much the whole time I have disliked BJ Penn. After reading this book though my opinion of him has COMPLETELY changed.

The UFC, for whatever reason, has always kind of cast his as a villian and I was always more than happy to view him that way myself. Reading this book though, you will find out that not only
Apr 30, 2010 No rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mma
Good book, easy read. Penn is one of my favorite fighters, his flexibilty is crazy and he loves to throw those hands. Great look at his life and growing up.

Looking forward to see him get his title back!

Seemed he hated on Rogan a few times in the book, which I didn't get, and who I am also a fan of. I am a huge Mixed Martial Arts fan so this book was entertaining all the way from front to back.

Big thanks to goodreads / first-reads for sending me a free copy of the book.

Notes: Just Scrap!

Haole - w
May 13, 2010 BookMarc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Why I fight: The Belt is Just an Accessory' by Bj Penn is the first autobiography I have read in quite a while and as I'm always up for a bj I just couldn't resist the lore of this book.
The last time I delved into the autobiography genre I picked up a copy of 'Batista Unleashed', which was just about the worst autobiography I've ever read, and so expectations weren't particularly high going into this one due to the similarities of them both being tough, muscular athletes. Thankfully, I can tell
May 09, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
This is the best and boldest fighter biography I've read yet. BJ is blunt when describing bad dealings he's had with the Gracie family and Dana White, so much so that the ghost writer was fired from the UFC after this book was published.
Jul 13, 2013 Mitch rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the in sight into the world of the UFC that you don't read about ie; Dana White and the UFCs grand plan to control their fighters for the greater good of the organizations profitability. Very interesting read.
Max P
Sep 27, 2010 Max P rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
It was a varry good book. Because it gave a lot of detail.
Artiom Karsiuk
This book was written not only by a future UFC Hall of Famer, two division champion and legend of the sport, but also by an annoying bitter little slacker. BJ Penn is one of my favorite mixed martial artist - if he wasn't, I would give this book the time of day. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest pure talents to have ever stepped onto an MMA canvas. He is also a spoiled brat.
But first things first, the part of the book on his childhood and teen years was fascinating, because I com
Loy Machedo
Loy Machedo’s Book Review - Why I fight – The belt is just an accessory by BJ Penn with David Weintraub

For a guy like me who loves reading biographies, self-help or business books reading David Weintraub contribution on the life of Mixed Martial Artist Champion - BJ Penn’s aptly titled memoir ‘Why I Fight – The belt is just an accessory’ would seem strange. But all your doubts would be non-existent when I tell you that though I am obsessed lover of self-help books, I am also a big fan of Mixed M
May 11, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know absolutely nothing about Brazilian juj-itsu (BJJ), and found this memoir of a champion BJJ fighter assumed ore knowledge than I had. Ten years ago, B.J. Penn became the first American-born winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category. This autobiography is a reflection on the moments that led up this victory: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The tale of B.J.'s childhood in Hawaii gives props to his parents, focuses on the strength of family and the failings of his
Jun 18, 2012 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all I must say thank you BJ Penn for responding to my Facebook post! It means the world to me and beat up MacDonald! Anyways the book gives a very informative inside look at Dana White, pioneers in the sport, the UFC's early days, misconceptions about the Hawaiian lifestyle, and a personal view of who Penn is and obviously why he fights. It is somewhat confusing to know who is who in the ever growing list of trainers, mentors, and coaches BJ surrounds himself with, especially if you rea ...more
Gary Braham
Aug 09, 2010 Gary Braham rated it really liked it
This book is the project of former UFC lightweight champion, BJ Penn. The book was an easy read, that progresses in a linear fashion through BJ's life. There were really two parts to the book.

In the first part, we learn of BJ's upbringing. He describes what it's like to grow up in Hawaii. Then there's the history of his first experiences with boxing, brazillian jiu jitsu, and just plain out fighting. From there, he moves to California and gets more serious about training in competitive jiu jits
May 04, 2010 DH rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, gr-str
Sometimes when you read a memoir or a biography, you think the author is holding back or he or she is stretching the truth to get a point across. Why I Fight, however, was a brutally honest and raw account of BJ Penn’s life. He didn’t hold anything back and he wasn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind even if it’s not politically correct. He tackles every subject a fighter goes through in this book from disputes with coaches to his position against steroids and cheating, as well as trying to figur ...more
I’ve been a fan of the UFC for many years. So when I won a free copy of BJ Penn’s book from Goodreads, I was pretty excited to read it. The book provides a very personal insight into BJ Penn’s life as a child in Hawaii and his move into mixed martial arts. He provides his story with brutal often candid honesty when describing his own failures and achievements. He presents things in a way that does not necessarily criticize but more to enlighten. It was impressive to hear about all of the hard wo ...more
Kenny Lam
BJ Penn's autobiography provides some insight into the internal politics that is the UFC while allowing Penn to speak his side of the story.

As a devoted Jiu Jitsu student, I truly enjoyed the chapter's that covered Penn's spectacular rise as a Jiu Jitsu athlete culminating in his gold medal at the Mundials.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it puts into words some of the changes I too have noticed concerning the sport of MMA and the truly negative effects the UFC monopoly has on many fighters tr
May 04, 2010 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I have read many books from many fighters, including: Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Renzo Gracie, Forrest Griffen and others. WIthout hesitation, I rank this book in the top 2 of these. I can't decide whether this or Forrest Griffen's Got Fight is my favorite. Griffen's book is hilarious and raw. It made me laugh out loud. This book, never did. It's an honest look into the things that I've watched unfold on the screen, and read about online and in magazines. I feel like I know both sides of the ...more
May 16, 2010 Rotten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I train in a related art, Aikido which has no competition or tournaments. Aikido is derived from Aiki Jitsu so somewhat related, similar.

I'm interested in why people train but more why we keep training and excel. I've seen so many start .... and quit, and promote through ranks .... and quit. For everyone who finally reaches black belt rank .... many quit.

People take up MA for a variety of reasons; need for self defense, fitness, discipline. But sticking with it for years with all the years, in
William Lopez
BJ was an astounding fighter, and the dude is a pretty good author too. This book was a fairly intimate look at Penn's life, and is better written than the other autobiographies written by fighters of his time, like Chuck and Tito. If you are not a fan of the business dealings of the UFC, this adds some fuel to the fire.

Really though, this book was written too early, as it ends with Penn's fights against Florian and Sanchez. I would love to know what he thought about his two losses to Edgar, hi
May 02, 2010 Rochelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this book from Goodreads and was very surprised when I received this. I thought this was going to be a book about boxing,but to my surprise it was about BJJ and MMA and the UFC, which were totally new to me.

As a primer to understanding the sport, I found it to be excellent. The story of his early life and personal life is rather sketchy. At one point suddenly he is a father, without any preamble.

He promotes himself very well throughout the book as an honest athlete (no steroids, no greasin
Learned a lot about people in the MMA world who aren't named BJ Penn, and I can't say the portraits of them were too flattering. Now, this is only one side of the story, but regardless of how you feel about BJ, he does come across as honest. It was one of the better books by a fighter I've read yet, even though (or perhaps due to the fact that) it was coauthored.

Postscript: I heard today, 2/13/13, that BJ mentioned the dropping down to 155 and fighting as a lightweight once again. Only time will
It's not going to win any literature awards, but BJ Penn's autobiography is still an interesting peek into his life and the growth of MMA in general. As with any memoir/autobiography, it can be hard to tell how forthright the author is being; Penn painted himself as a clueless kid who didn't mean to piss people off but was a victim or circumstance and naiveté for much of his early career. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. Who knows. Despite being a BJ Penn fan, I'm giving this 2 stars because it ...more
Nov 08, 2010 Edgar added it
Why I Fight
By Jay Dee B.J. Pen

Why I fight was an autobiography of Jay Deen. Its about this fighter who as a little kid doesn't know what he was going to become. It talks about how as a little kid he wanted to be a profesional soccer player. That was until he got on a fight and got kiked out of the team. He then started to fight with other kids at his house. which leaded to one thing to another to another.
This was one of the best autobiography I have read it was interesting and almost didn't ha
Oct 06, 2011 Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honest look at an interesting, and talented, man. Before I read it I already knew a bunch about Penn but I still learned more. Seeing what the guy thinks about UFC, Dana White and MMA period is always interesting. There's not a dull moment in here. BJ Penn gets a bad reputation for playing a villain but he's just a guy who a) likes to fight and b) speaks his mind, which is refreshing when you all you see are company men.
Miranda Diaz
Would probably call this a 3.5. Really good read to learn about his road to Brazilian JuJitzu blackbelt, fighting in Japan and Brazil, reliving his fights, how he seemingly fell into MMA, his tutelage and feud with the Gracies and openly talking about the dark side of the UFC including the financials, lawsuits and Dana. The writing is a little elementary and it starts of slow but gets better about halfway in. Worthwhile read for any UFC or MMA lover.
Jul 25, 2010 Violet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to rate this book. I am not a fan of BJ Penn but I did like his candor in talking about the negative aspects of the UFC franchise and some of his fellow fighters.

His writing style left much to be desired, but the stories were good.

3/5 is my compromise. It's worth reading if you're a fan of MMA, UFC or just got tired of reading all the stories from other fighters who somehow manage to avoid mentioning the UFC in anything less than glowing terms.

May 25, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better fighters bio's I've read. A cool look at how BJ grew up in Hawaii, getting into scraps, smokin ganja, cliff/bridge jumping, boxing with neighborhood kids, and of course, learning Bjj as quick as he did. He is truly a prodigy, that was made to strangle throats, like a cheetah possessed by an anaconda's spirit.
Frank Taranto
Mar 05, 2012 Frank Taranto rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mma
Good stories, but the writing was very poor. There were too many repeats of the same phrases. I did enjoy learning about the UFC from an insider who doesn't just gush about how wonderful it all is. The story about St Pierre greasing himself before fight was intersting, and I lost the respect I had for him.
Aug 25, 2015 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading BJ's book, I felt no great tension. No blasting of former friends or opponents. No anger or hate or conflict. Just a guy telling his story growing up. His experience with the MMA and his journey. Unlike other fighter/ athlete biographies I've read before, BJ comes across as a down home guy that talents were in Mixed Martial Arts. No roller coaster ride of emotions. Just steady ride.
Aaron Hubbard
I read this book so I could better understand BJ Penn. While watching him fight I often find him lackadaisical and unmotivated. Nothing proved this more to me than after watching the second Frakie Edgar fight and seeing the look on his face before fight. After reading the book I made me appreciate how he and others like him have dedicated their lives for something they love.
May 06, 2010 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks, Goodreads! My husband is a big fan of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)and finds BJ Penn fascinating. It was cool to learn about his upbringing in Hawaii and how he's been fighting his whole life. He is definitely one of the best fighters in the world!
Mike The Don
Sep 30, 2010 Mike The Don rated it liked it
Honestly, Bj Penn isn't my favorite fighter, but the bok gave me a good insight as to why he participates in UFC.

Oh wait, I think his reason is exactly the same as everybody else's.

The only other book I even glanced at that was "written" by a UFC champ was the one written by Matt Hughes. Both books say practically the same thing. It's an easy read, and is enjoyable to the UFC fan.
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