UFC 224 was a solid card all around, but unfortunately the main event of the night was overshadowed by controversy. As women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Raquel Pennington was set to enter the final round, a battered Pennington asked her coaches to put a stop to the match. Instead of obliging, they talked her out of the idea and sent her out there for the fifth round to mercifully suffer the TKO loss.
Monday, Pennington joined the "MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani, and maybe to the shock of some, defended her coaches' decision to allow her to continue. Pennington told Helwani that she was caught up in the moment in wanting to concede the fight, but ultimately her coaches know her limits better than anyone. This echoes the sentiment of her partner Tecia Torres who sent out an Instagram post defending the team using similar logic.
"I'm actually proud of my coaches," Pennington said on The MMA Hour. "I know a lot of people are going against what they said and thinking all this different stuff, and it's easy to judge, but you never know what's happening in that moment. At the end of the day, my coaches know me best. They know my toughness and they know what I can handle, and I trust my coaches with everything that I have, and I know they wouldn't put me in a situation that I can't handle. I was going through a moment where I was obviously frustrated because of the facts with my legs. I was scared to step in and actually let my hands go, because the minute I would start to close the distance, Amanda would attack the leg."
That's not all Pennington revealed in the appearance on Monday. In addition to defending her team, Pennington, who was visibly battered on Saturday, told Helwani that the medical care she received in Brazil was less than ideal. More specifically, Pennington admitted that it took five hours for doctors to get a look at her injured nose to determine what action needed to be taken from there.
Fans were livid on Saturday at Pennington's coaches for not halting the fight when she asked, but with both Torres and Pennington coming out in their defense, it may be time to drop the pitchforks on that subject and respect their explanations. However, what fans should be upset at is Pennington's revelation that it took an insane amount of time for doctors to evaluate her after the damage she suffered at the hands of Nunes. That's simply unacceptable.