Raquel Pennington’s corner sparked a lot of controversy around the MMA community earlier this month when they talked “Rocky” into continuing her fight against women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 224 in Brazil.
Pennington told her corner that she was “done” in between the fourth and fifth rounds after catching a beating for 20-straight minutes, but her coaches ignored her plea. The 29-year-old contender stepped out for the fifth round only to have “Lioness” end her night via TKO just over two minutes later.
The actions of Pennington’s corner have been discussed for an entire week now, with the MMA community seemingly split down the middle. Some believe that a corner should listen to its fighter and pull the plug when instructed to, while others understand the importance of a corner and their ability to encourage a fighter to continue when nothing is left in the tank.
Former UFC middleweight fighter Tim Kennedy is part of the group that believes Pennington’s corner did the right thing, stating that “Rocky” would have regretted her decision to stop fighting for the rest of her life.
“I believe that had her team let her out, she would have regretted it the rest of her life,” said Kennedy during a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (shown above). “The failure didn’t happen by her team there between the fourth and the fifth round, it happened in the preparation getting her ready for that. Because I think that those words would never be uttered out of my mouth in the middle of a fight. It would be my team begging and pleading for them to end the fight.”
In all honesty, Kennedy is the type of fighter who would have died in the cage before he told his corner he wanted to quit. The Army Sergeant first class is one of the toughest dudes on the planet and fought some of the biggest 185-pound freaks around.
He’s also a little bit crazy.
“I’m not defending what they did or attacking them,” explained Kennedy. “What I’m saying is, you’re not on either side of that fence. You’ve never had your feet on that canvas and felt fury and pain of defeat and the sweetness of success. The worst thing ever is regret.”
Even though Pennington went on to lose to Nunes via TKO, she willed herself off the stool before the start of the fifth round with the assistance of her corner, proving that she is as tough as we thought she was.
But if things had played out differently and Pennington’s corner listened to her request to call the fight, “Rocky” may have ended up hating the people closest to her, at least according to Kennedy.
“If I told my coaches I wanted out and they let me out, I would hate them forever,” Kennedy said. “I would regret my decision and be mad at them forever. And they’re some of my best friends now.”