Right before the beginning of round five of Saturday night’s UFC 224 main event bout, Raquel Pennington already declared that she was “done” from the beating she took from Amanda Nunes in the prior four rounds. Her coach Jason Kutz, however, responded by urging her to “change her mindset” and just “recover later.”
It was not until after the fight when Nunes found out about what happened in Pennington’s corner. During her post-fight press conference, the champion took time to address the situation.
“Everyone must be saying a lot of bad things about them on social media, but I think she really needs to surround herself with people that want the best for her, so she can evolve in her next fights,” Nunes said (via MMA Fighting). “Unfortunately, tonight (her coach) failed.”
“It’s sad because you could avoid something,” Nunes added. “She went to the hospital. It might be a bad injury for her to go to the hospital. I already asked Nina to text her to find out if she needs anything, I’m here.”
“And it’s sad. If she didn’t have the right conditioning to fight, then the coach should have thrown in the towel, for sure. I think my coach wouldn’t let me go through that.”
Nunes and her partner Nina Ansaroff developed a deep personal relationship with Pennington through her fianceé, Tecia Torres, having previously trained together at the American Top Team gym in Florida. “The Lioness” admits that fighting someone whom she also considers to be a good friend was a tough challenge to deal with.
“I never fight with somebody that’s a friend,” Nunes said of Pennington. “This is the first time ever. I respect those girls so much, especially Tecia. She used to train with us. It was very hard for me — for me, for Nina — to look [at] those girls wherever we go, where we see them. It was very hard for me, this fight. It was the hardest of my career to fight this girl because we have that respect. I like those girls so much and it was hard for me.”
“But I wanted to win and defend this belt, something I dreamed about for so long,” she continued. ‘I have to do it. But right now, we are friends. We’re gonna leave this cage, we’re gonna have a beer in celebration of our friendship. Tonight was my belt, but the first thing was the respect and the friendship we have.”
Nunes’ win over Pennington marks her third successful title defense since winning the belt from Miesha Tate at UFC 200 in July 2016.
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