Following last night’s UFC 224 headliner, it looks like a lot of folks are piling on Raquel Pennington’s corner, for sending her out for the fifth round of the bout. Although Amanda Nunes didn’t know what transpired after the fourth, the bantamweight champ’s also criticizing Pennington’s coaches.
Nunes dominated much of the action during the contest, but in round four, the champ landed some hard strikes and Pennington finished the round with what appeared to be a broken nose. In between the frames, the production crew appeared to capture Pennington telling her coaches she was done, and that she wanted the fight over. One of her cornerman, however, encouraged her to continue and to let it all go in the final round. Pennington, as you surely know, was bloodied further in round five and the fight was stopped.
Well, not surprisingly, Nunes was asked for her thoughts on what went down, and here’s what she had to say (quote via MMA Junkie):
“It’s sad,” Nunes told the media at the post-fight presser. “(My girlfriend) Nina (Ansaroff) told me. I didn’t even know. Nina told me in the locker room. It’s sad because you could avoid something. She went to the hospital. It might be a bad injury for her to go to the hospital. I already asked Nina to text her – if she needs anything I’m here. It’s sad.
“If she didn’t have the right conditioning to fight then the coach should have thrown in the towel for sure. I think my coach wouldn’t let me go through that. It’s sad. Everyone must be saying a lot of bad things about him on social media, but I really think she needs to surround herself with people who want the best for her so she can really evolve for her next fights. Unfortunately, tonight (the cornerman) failed.”
Now, as this is being written, Pennington hasn’t commented on the situation. So, it will be interesting to see if she’s also upset with coaches, or if she defends them encouraging her to go out for another round.
Whether you were angered by what transpired or not in this particular situation, it is true that mixed-martial-arts seems to encourage this more than boxing. So, it seems like a good time for the MMA industry to re-evaluate that aspect of the sport’s culture.