Raquel Pennington’s head coach explains controversial decision not to stop fight

Raquel Pennington

Raquel Pennington’s shot at Amanda Nunes and the UFC women’s bantamweight title, which headlined the action-packed UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last Saturday night, did not go as she had hoped. Instead, the challenger was thumped to a fifth-round stoppage by the dominating champ Nunes.

Regrettably, Pennington’s failed title bid also accompanied by a sizeable dose of controversy, as she appeared to be forced off the stool by her corner between the fourth and fifth rounds after telling her coaches that she was “done.”

Speaking on The MMA Hour on Monday, Pennington’s head coach Jason Kutz explained why he encouraged his fighter to return for a fifth round of fighting, rather than stopping the fight, as many felt he should have.

“What I’m going to say is, [it was] the way she said [she was ‘done’], and more importantly, the look in her eye — that’s what I don’t think people understand,” Kutz said (transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting). “When you spend four hours a day doing what she does and doing what we do, I know her. I can read her face like a book. And I know that had she stopped [the fight] right then and there, and I’ve talked to her about this afterward — like, ‘Hey, in 10 years when you look back at this, I think you’d be kicking yourself in the pants had you not gone out there.’”

“I knew it was going to take an extraordinary effort, because she had to stop Amanda. She had to do something huge, right? Something extra ordinary. And if I didn’t think that Raquel could do something extraordinary, then hey, we would’ve went the other way with it. And the thing is, like I said, the mentality of her at that moment, I just felt if she could somehow flip it around and go out there and do something extraordinary, we got a chance. And you know what? She trained her ass off for a long time to get this title shot, and in the fifth round of the title fight, I know her leg hurts, but hey, I thought that she could go out there and go.”

Where do you stand on the controversy that emerged from Raquel Pennington’s fight with Amanda Nunes?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/15/2018.