UFC's Raquel Pennington wanted to quit mid-fight, her corner wouldn't let her


Anyone who has ever competed in organized sports can recount having a bad day.

Sometimes the athlete just can’t muster the heart or the spirit. It’s human nature to have off days.

Other times, the opponent is just too much. One of the hardest and most humbling things for any athlete to come to terms with is when his or her opponent is simply better.

Unfortunately for UFC bantamweight Raquel Pennington, she experienced all of that in her main event title bout at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro.

Pennington was already a heavy underdog against champion Amanda Nunes, but few could’ve predicted the soul-crushing nature of the fight.

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After four somewhat one-sided rounds, Pennington went back to her corner a defeated fighter.

“I’m done, I want to be done,” Pennington said.

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” her coach told her. “Come on girl. I know it hurts, I know. Let’s power through this, all right. Change your mindset. Throw her everything we got. We’ll recover later.”

Do you think her corner made the right call?

Pennington decided to power through, but to no avail.

Nunes thrashed Pennington in the fifth and final round, recording a TKO win after the referee stopped the fight. Nunes ended the bout with a brutal knee to Pennington’s face, leaving her a bloodied and defenseless mess.

The reigning champion lambasted Pennington’s coaches following the fight.

“It’s sad because you could avoid something,” Nunes said per ESPN. “She went to the hospital. It might be a bad injury. … It’s sad. If she didn’t have the right conditioning to fight, the coach should have thrown in the towel for sure. I think my coach wouldn’t have let me go through that.”

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Nunes didn’t stop there, saying Pennington’s coaches had failed her.

“It’s sad. … I think she really needs to surround herself with people that want the best for her so she can evolve in her next fight. Unfortunately, tonight he failed.”

While Nunes might never achieve the mainstream success that Ronda Rousey did during her UFC stint, by almost any metric, she has easily surpassed Rousey the fighter. Nunes has won seven fights in a row and has recorded 11 career knockouts. She’s beaten some of the very best in her title defenses, including Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Rousey herself. As dominant as Rousey had been, she never broke her opponent’s wills quite like what Nunes did to Pennington.

For what it’s worth, Nunes and Pennington are apparently good friends.

“To defend this belt is something I dream, and I have to do it. But [Pennington and I] are going to leave this cage and have a beer and celebrate our friendship. Tonight was about my belt, but I respect the friendship we have,” she said.

If that’s how Nunes treats her friends, it’s a scary thought to think about how she’d treat an enemy in the octagon.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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