Raquel Pennington brutally lost the contest against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes by a fifth-round TKO at UFC 224 on (Sat., May 12, 2018) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But the controversy of not stopping her in the final rounds is still lingering.
Before the loss, a time between the fourth and fifth frame of a fight Rocky was losing, Pennington told her coaches, “I’m done. I want to be done.” That didn’t stop them from sending her back into the Octagon to face Nunes for the final round, that generated a backlash from the MMA community about the responsibility of a cornerman.
The former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez weigh in on the controversy, as he also went through a similar situation at UFC 188 against Gilbert Melendez almost three years ago. He went to his corner with one eye and a busted nose to express his concerns to stop the contest, but his coach convinced him to keep digging more.
“Henri Hooft brought me back off the ledge and let me know, ‘Hey, we’re going to deal with this,’” Alvarez recalled during Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “And I came back and I won the fight, and I kind of owed that to Henri Hooft, who brought me back to the fight. If it was just myself negotiating with myself in my own mind, my spirit was low.”
“A corner’s job is to protect the fighter, but a corner’s job is also — they’re like the pit stop,” Alvarez continued. “Like, when a car’s doing Indy 500, the car’s going to be worn down, the car’s going to be messed up, sh-t is going to break, sh-t is going to fly off. It’s those guys’ jobs at the pit stop to revive that car, to revive the spirit of that car and send it back out there on the road — but at all costs, send it back on the road.
“So it’s a double-edged sword,” he continued. “I think there’s not one answer to that question. The better the corner knows the fighter; the better decision the corner can make to that fighter. But that relationship between the fighter and the corner, there’s no one answer for what you’re saying.”
He still remembers the hopelessness he felt at UFC 188 and put himself in Rocky’s shoes. Alvarez said it’s more of a personal matter between Pennington and her coaches, no one is in a position to make a sound judgment.
“The relationship between the corner and the fighter, that’s what’s going to determine whether that person’s sent back out there or not,” Alvarez said. “And that’s something that’s only between them two. Nobody else can judge it.”
Do you agree with Eddie Alvarez’s unique perspective on Pennington’s controversy?