In the main event of UFC 224 on Saturday night, challenger Raquel Pennington gave champ Amanda Nunes everything she had, but it wasn’t even close. Pennington took a beating.
But Pennington is hella resilient, and always has been, so she hung in there. That is, until the fourth round ended, at which point Pennington went back to her corner and informed her coach she was done.
Coach Jason Kutz wasn’t having it. He ignored her, and she went out for the fifth round, took even more of a beating, and was eventually TKO’d.
Many were appalled at Kutz’s seeming lack of compassion for his fighter. Did Pennington really need to take all that extra damage? If she said she was done, then she should’ve been done – right?
Kutz appeared on “The MMA Hour” to defend himself.
“What I’m going to say is, the way she said it, and more importantly, the look in her eye — that’s what I don’t think people understand,” Kutz said. “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.”
What do you think? Should Pennington’s coach have thrown in the towel before Round 5?