After taking the sharp end of Amanda Nunes’ punches and knees for the better part of four rounds at UFC 224 on Saturday, Raquel Pennington wanted out of the fight. She voiced as much to her corner, but her corner talked her out of it, and they have since received a heavy dose of criticism from pundits, fans, and fighters alike.
One person that isn’t ready to issue a condemnation is Pennington.
Though her nose opened like a faucet in the final round and she received a steady diet of hard punches until the referee stopped the fight, Pennington, via her fiancee, publicly supported her corner’s decision to push her out for the fifth round, even though she told them she was done after the fourth.
“Both us and our coaches agree with the decision made to go into the 5th round,” Tecia Torres wrote on Instagram. “We know Raquel more than anyone else and know if we let her give up on herself going into the last round, she would have always regretted it. She fought with heart and grit until the end.”
Despite Torres issuing support for the decision, numerous fighters have been critical of Pennington’s corner, including the woman that delivered the beating, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, who is a close friend to Torres and Pennington.
“It’s very sad. He should have listened to her at that moment,” Nunes said. “It’s important to have that friendship with your coach and for the coach to understand the athlete. I think that’s why I bond so well with my coaches and it’s working out. I hope right now going forward, she can be with people that really understand, people that are with her 100-percent.”
It’s easy to be critical when you’re on the outside looking in. Nunes was in the Octagon, delivering the punishment that Pennington had to endure, so she is in a better position than most to judge the situation, but at the end of the day, looking back, only Pennington can decide whether or not how her corner handled the situation was right for her.
Regardless, she certainly has avid support from Torres.
“Forever, I am extremely proud of my lady. You are a warrior babe. Fought every second you possibly could,” she wrote on Sunday. “You continue to amaze me daily.”
#Forever I am extremely proud of my lady. You are a warrior babe. Fought every second you possibly could. You continue to amaze me daily. You motivate me to work hard and one day too receive the same opportunity to fight for a UFC championship. We are the 1%ers. Very few will ever know what we go thru as fighters and an even smaller percentage will ever earn the chance to fight on such a big stage and for a world title. #RideOrDie #AlwaysProud PS: Both us and our coaches agree with the decision made to go into the 5th round. We know Raquel more than anyone else and know if we let her give up on herself going into the last round she would have always regretted it. She fought with heart and grit until the end. PSS: Exactly one year ago today you asked me to marry you, I can't freaking wait to wife you! ? @raquel_pennington