In one of the most surprising MMA stories in recent memories, news has now surfaced that during her training camp leading up to UFC 207, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey actually had training partner and fellow women’s bantamweight Raquel Pennington sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Essentially, what this means is that while Rousey and Pennington trained together for Rousey’s highly anticipated UFC 207 return to the Octagon against Amanda Nunes, Pennington can’t legally speak about the nature of the training sessions, or anything that occurred in them.
She spoke to ESPN to explain how the situation came about, and the legal aspect of the training:
“I actually talked to Ronda the night of the weigh-ins in New York [before UFC 205],” Pennington said. “I bumped into Ronda and she asked if she could contact me and bring me out for some work. I’ve been out to Los Angeles to see her and [teammate] Shayna Baszler before. A lot of us are friends outside the Octagon. I’m always up for challenges. Everybody brings something new to the table. It was definitely a solid experience.”
“I can’t really talk about how sparring went or what we did,” Pennington said. “Ronda asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so I did. All I can say is the fact I was able to put in work with her and that it was solid work. I can’t say too much more than that.”
Interestingly enough, while this is a very rare occurrence, it isn’t the first time a fighter has requested that a training partner sign a NDA.
Pennington signed an NDA to spar with Ronda. Only other time I've heard of that was Brock Lesnar having Randy Couture sign one in 2010 https://t.co/oar8HdNLi3
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) January 7, 2017
Unfortunately for Pennington, in her UFC 205 win over Miesha Tate, where Rousey discussed the possibility of training together with Pennington, she suffered a shoulder injury, and will be forced to sit on the sideline for 6-9 months while she recovers from surgery.
“Yeah, everything went well,” Pennington said. “They thought it was a torn labrum, but when the doctor went inside it ended up being a torn bicep. They had to cut the bicep and anchor it to my bone. They also cleaned up my rotator cuff and labrum while they were in there. The recovery and everything is the same, with it being a torn bicep. It’s just going to take some time to heal. They’ve told me six to nine months. In six months, I should be back on the mats, full blown.”