If Raquel Pennington refused to answer the bell for the fifth and final round of her women’s bantamweight title fight, which took place at the UFC 224 pay-per-view (PPV) last weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she probably would have saved herself some unnecessary punishment.
But she would have been asking herself in 10 years, “What if?”
Instead, she can walk away from her technical knockout loss with “dignity,” knowing she threw everything — and the kitchen sink — at Amanda Nunes until crumbling under a barrage of Brazilian bombs.
That’s why head coach Jason Kutz refused to let Pennington quit on her stool. That said, it was not a decision he took lightly and it came with a firestorm of criticism after “Rocky” told her corner she was “done” before there start of the fifth round.
Kutz talks to MMA Junkie:
“In my mind, I had it as more of a mental battle than physical battle for her going into the fifth round. And knowing her and coaching her for years, and knowing what she’s capable of, I felt if she flipped the script and did a 180 in her own mind, and just went for it, hey, you never know. I always tell her, in 10 years, yeah, you were losing the fight, but you look back at this, you look back at that moment in your life, and you would be asking yourself, what if? What if I’d went out there and something clicked and I had the best round ever and won the title? And now, she doesn’t have to do that in 10 years. She knows. I think that’s huge. I think her battle wounds from this fight, they’ll heal. But she gave her best effort that she could possibly give on that day, under those circumstances. What more as an athlete, what more as a coach, can somebody ask?”
Watch the video highlights here.
As expected, those closest to Pennington, including wife Tecia Torres, defended the controversial decision to have “Rocky” answer the bell, knowing full well it would take a miracle to finish the Brazilian juggernaut.
Nunes has now captured seven straight wins with five violent finishes and looks to be unmatched at 135 pounds. Her last loss came to former division title contender Cat Zingano, who is 0-3 since putting down “Lioness.”
No telling what’s next for either Nunes or Pennington, but it looks as though “Rocky” is going to need some time off to heal up. The champion is probably going to start entertaining this super fight at some point in the very near future.
For much more on UFC 224 click here.