Raquel Pennington’s coach Jason Kutz has defended his and his team’s decision to tell their fighter to fight on in the fifth round of her UFC 224 headliner.
UFC 224 was widely regarded as one of the year’s best fight-cards to date. With just two fights requiring the judge’s scorecards, the fans were treated to a variety of finishes and all in all, the night was without much in the way of complaints.
The one moment that left a sour taste in the mouths of those in attendance, however, came in the card’s main-event pairing between bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington – a fight that wasn’t overly competitive from the off.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) May 13, 2018
Nunes, all things considered, put a beating on her opponent for four rounds, battering her with relentless leg-kicks and badly damaging her nose, causing the demoralised ‘Rocky’ to declare to her corner that she did not want to continue heading into the fifth round.
Corner: “No, no, no, no.”
— #UFCChile: Maia vs. Usman on BT Sport (@btsportufc) May 13, 2018
Not known for her knockout power, Raquel made the call based on what she believed to be a virtually unwinnable fight but after being urged by her corner, she continued, only to be finished brutally moments later.
Speaking to MMAJunkie this is what Kutz had to say on the divisive fifth round:
“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. It is a fight.”
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of it all given that we don’t know the relationship between coach and fighter but on the surface, it really did appear as though enough was enough and many believe that Pennington’s wishes should have been respected.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena