UFC 224 main headliner fight between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington turned uncomfortable when a battered Rocky returned to her corner after four punishing rounds and said she was “done.” Instead of throwing a towel, her cornermen implored her not to give up and convinced her to go back for a final round.
Pennington’s coaches were widely criticized for not saving her from further punishment from bantamweight champion. Several MMA analysts and other fighters, including Nunes, react that Rocky’s corner failed her. However, Pennington’s partner Tecia Torres and Pennington herself defends head coach Jason Kutz by stating “agree with the decision” of the cornermen to not stop the fight.
Coach Kutz unfold his side of the story on why he didn’t throw the towel in the final round during his conversation with MMAJunkie:
“In my mind, I had it as more of a mental battle than physical battle for her going into the fifth round. And knowing her and coaching her for years, and knowing what she’s capable of, I felt if she flipped the script and did a 180 in her own mind, and just went for it, hey, you never know. I always tell her, in 10 years, yeah, you were losing the fight, but you look back at this, you look back at that moment in your life, and you would be asking yourself, what if? What if I’d went out there and something clicked and I had the best round ever and won the title? And now, she doesn’t have to do that in 10 years. She knows. I think that’s huge. I think her battle wounds from this fight, they’ll heal. But she gave her best effort that she could possibly give on that day, under those circumstances. What more as an athlete, what more as a coach, can somebody ask?”
Kutz acknowledged that Rocky’s chances at that point of winning the contest were very slim unless Rocky pull of something unusual to turn the tables but Nunes was favored in that situation. He added Pennington thanked him backstage for not halting the fight.
Do you agree with coach’s decision to let Rocky play with injury until last round?