Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight Raquel Pennington may have dispelled the rumors that Ronda Rousey didn't spar ahead of her Octagon return at UFC 207 opposite champion Amanda Nunes, but the non-disclosure agreement that Rousey made "Rocky" sign still leaves some questions unanswered. Leave it up to budding bantamweight title contender Julianna Pena, who meets Valentina Shevchenko inside of the cage tomorrow (Sat., Jan. 28, 2017) at UFC on FOX 23 in Denver, Colorado, to chime in and try to shed some light on the Rousey training rumors.
"I'm mostly trying to have some banter at Holly but at the same time you have got to giver her credit for being able to implement the gameplan against Ronda and that's to keep her away at a distance and punch her in the face because she don't like that and she's not allowed to get hit in sparring," said Pena during a recent edition of the UFC Unfiltered podcast (shown above). "These girls have to sign these waivers to say that ‘We never hit Ronda, and we'll never talk about this type of training ever and all this stuff, you know? She's not really taking the toll in the fight camp of getting punched in the face legitimately so she doesn't really know what that feels like."
This seems to cover the non-disclosure agreement that Pennington was forced to sign in order to prepare Rousey for UFC 207. After getting knocked dead by Holly Holm back at UFC 193, people were wondering how hard Rousey would train ahead of her return this past December.
"I just think it's one of those things where you've gotta protect the fighter and make sure she doesn't get hurt before the fight," said Pena regarding Rousey having training partners sign waivers. "She's a superstar and they don't want to see her get any damage. So, it's like whenever the girls would go hard on her, whenever they'd come forward and start banging it out on her, they'd tell them, ‘Hey. Knock it off. Stop it. Don't hit her so hard and then sign this waiver and say that you were never here and that you never punched her. Don't ever talk about how well you did in training and stuff like that because you have to sign this dotted line or else we'll sue you for a million dollars.'"
The validity of Pena's statements are unknown at this point, but it's likely Rousey didn't do too much sparring in training, especially when you look at how quickly she folded under pressure opposite Nunes. Pena obviously still doesn't like Rousey, but "The Venezuelan Vixen" will have to let her fists do the talking at UFC on FOX 23 this weekend.