In the main event of UFC 224, Raquel Pennington called for her corner to pull her out of the fight during her title tilt with Amanda Nunes but did not fulfil her wishes.
Rio De Janeiro played host to a night of exhilarating fights but many fans and pundits were left with a sour taste in their mouth following the main event.
Raquel Pennington (9-6) returned to bantamweight action against champion Amanda Nunes (16-4) after two years away from the Octgaon.
Nunes was roared on by a home crowd and she answered those calls with ease and dished out big blows early on that left Pennington reeling and battered and wearing a disfigured nose.
Pennington looked weary in her corner in between rounds but between rounds 4 and 5, “Rocky” could be heard telling her corner that she didn’t wish to continue.
Having not taken their fighter’s concerns over her wellbeing, Pennington went out for the final round and was on the receiving end of some big punches furthering her punishment.
It is a decision that many fans have been up in arms about since the culmination of the event and rightly so.
While it is true that coaches and team mates live in each other’s pockets throughout fight camp, they are the people who are likely to know their fighter better than anybody looking on. However, in the instance of last night it was clear to everybody watching the broadcast that Pennington looked a broken fighter.
Fighter safety is of paramount concern especially in a sport like MMA which is much maligned in mainstream media. It is of vital importance that incidents such as this do not taint the sport because of a huge failure to not protect a fighter.
It’s understandable that the corner would want to motivate Pennington as much as possible considering that she was involved in a big title fight but allowing her to take unnecessary damage is a case of serious neglect for fighter safety.
While cornermen know their fighter’s inside out, the only person who knows more than any of them combined is Pennington herself and the backlash directed towards her team are justified.
It was a disappointing end to an otherwise fantastic night of fights and this is a story that will certainly be discussed over the coming days and weeks.