UFC Belem was co-headlined by a fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Priscila Cachoeira. The Brazilian Cachoeira was a highly-rated undefeated prospect coming into her debut UFC bout. However, she was straightaway thrown into deep waters by the UFC matchmakers and the fight soon turned into a nightmare for the young Brazilian. The fight was marred by questionable officiating by Mario Yamasaki, although the Brazilian’s coaches too created controversy when they asked her to shut up and keep fighting, after she informed them about injuring her leg.
Cachoeira suffered a highly one-sided submission loss to Shevchenko. Shevchenko out-struck ‘Pedrita’ by more than 200 strikes before submitting her. The fight was so lopsided that, fans and pundits alike were begging the UFC new-comer’s corner to throw in the towel to stop the beat-down.
‘Pedrita’ was visibly seriously hurt after the first round and looked to be injured. However, when she told her coaches about a potential leg injury, they promptly asked her to ignore it and to continue fighting. After receiving a lot of criticism for not throwing the towel, Cachoeira’s coach, Giliard Parana revealed his side of the story in an interview with MMA Fighting. He revealed that he had no idea about the severity of the injury and thus didn’t try to stop the bout. Here’s what Parana had to say about the debacle:
“We didn’t know how serious the injury was, If we knew, I think we would have stopped it, but we only knew when we went to the hospital. She was in pain, she got hurt in the first exchange, and told me in between rounds that she hurt her knee but I told her to shut up. I was trying to make her stop thinking about that, but I had no idea how serious it was. If I knew it, I would have stopped it. We thought she would be able to fight all three rounds.
‘Pedrita’ is fearless, she would never quit. She never considered quitting. The world hasn’t seen the real ‘Pedrita’ fight. They saw an injured girl fighting the best pound-for-pound female fighter in MMA, Valentina Shevchenko. Maybe she would lose even if she was 100 percent, but the fight would be a bit better.”
It’s not the first time in MMA that a fighter’s corner have received criticism for not throwing the towel. Throwing the towel is often perceived to be humiliating by the fighters themselves. However, throwing the towel should not be turned into a matter of pride as it would ensure the safety of fighters.