Recently Raquel Pennington’s partner, Tecia Torres, relayed they support how the bantamweight’s corner handled her call to stop fighting at UFC 224. Now “Rocky” herself has come forward, and she’s also defending her coaches decision.
Pennington took on champion Amanda Nunes at the Rio de Janeiro event, and after the fourth round, the battered fighter could be heard telling her corner she was done. But, Pennington’s coaches told her to focus on letting it all go in the final round, and the fight continued. Unfortunately for Pennington, however, she took more punishing shots in the fifth frame, and the fight was stopped.
Well, due to what transpired, and because Pennington was a bloody mess after the bout, there’s been a lot of heat thrown at the fighter’s corner. Following Torres’ comments Pennington appeared on “The MMA Hour” Monday. While doing so, she reported that her leg sustained an injury not long into the bout, on account of Nunes’ leg kicks.
In addition, Pennington also praised her corner’s decision to not throw in the towel. Here is just some of what Pennington had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“…At the end of the day, my coaches know me best. They know my toughness and they know what I can handle, and I trust my coaches with everything that I have, and I know they wouldn’t put me in a situation that I can’t handle. I was going through a moment where I was obviously frustrated because of the facts with my legs. I was scared to step in and actually let my hands go, because the minute I would start to close the distance, Amanda would attack the leg.
Those initial kicks really got me to a point where I started to break for a second, and the minute that I turned around and told my coaches that, and then I actually turned around and looked at my head coach and looked him in the eyes, I knew it still had it within me.”
…I could’ve easily waved off the fight. I could’ve sat down and tapped out. But I choose not to. I choose to pull my head out of my ass, basically, and not give up on myself. Because at the end of the day, when you give up, it’s a whole different ballgame there. Quitting’s not an option in that aspect, and in that moment, I was quitting on myself. And that’s when a coach steps in and they push their athlete.”
There you have it. Pennington also noted that she’s “glad” that her coaches didn’t let her quit. So, will these comments temper some of the backlash her corner has received? Probably. But, they likely won’t shut down the broader discussion that’s being had about whether fighters are taking too much punishment, in situations where there’s little doubt about the fight’s outcome.