UFC 224 might not be one of the most stacked cards on paper but turned out to be the ‘dark horse’ among all the cards of the year. Until main event, out of the 12 fights, 10 finishes were served. The main event witnessed another finish as champion Amanda Nunes defended her title for the third time finishing challenger Raquel Pennington in the fifth round.
The event however saw a controversy. Challenger Raquel Pennington suffered serious damage to her nose in the fourth round of the fight. Pennington went to her corner saying ‘I’m done’, however her coaches send her to fight only to get beaten by champ Nunes.
After the fight, MMA community tackled the issue by storm. Nunes claimed the corner ‘failed’ Pennington. Other fighters like Tyron Woodley and Brian Ortega went critical on Pennington’s corner as well. However, former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate has different views.
“I think that I would’ve done the same thing if I was in her corner’s shoes,” Tate said. “It’s important that a fighter loses with dignity, and I think that Raquel lost with dignity. She went out there and she got finished. She went out on her shield. I would have done the same thing because sometimes when you’re tired and you don’t think you have enough left, your coach’s job is to pull the most out of you and I think that’s what the corner was trying to do – not let her give up on herself, get her back in the game mentally. She lost, but she went out there. She could have quit at any point if she felt like she couldn’t hang in there. She got finished, and I would have done the same thing.”
“I think he didn’t want to let her give up on herself in the fifth round,” Tate said. “She’s very durable and she’d been doing really well up until that point – not necessarily winning but she wasn’t out of the fight. I think she deserved to not give up on herself, to go out there and try to win that fight. It didn’t work out that way but it could have. She could have gone out there and done something incredible that fifth round and been like, ‘Thank you, coach. You’re a genius for not letting me give up in that fifth round.’
“You always have a little bit more in the gas tank when you feel like you’re done. I think that her coach really wanted to give her the best opportunity and not let her give up on herself…
“When you’re in those mentally weak spots, that what your coach is there to do. Your coach is there to say, “No, no, no. Don’t give up on yourself. You made it this far. You’ve got one more round. Five more minutes for the rest of your life. I’m not going to let you quit.’ That’s the coach’s job and I think that he made the right decision.”
Tate is considered one of the most durable fighters in the history of the sport. Her tuffness itself won her the women’s bantamweight title. Tate faced then champion Holly Holm. Holm who has now competed in featherweight, was big for the division gave a lot of problem to Tate who was naturally small for the division. Tate had problems dealing with the reach for Holm but ended up submitting her in the fifth round to clinch her title.
“She did get finished but if she really wanted to she could have just said, ‘I’m not gonna go out for the next round,’” Tate said. “I think she was looking for her coach to give her the words of encouragement. ‘I want to be done.’ Yeah, but you’re not. And she got off the stool and went back out for the fifth round. She didn’t have to do that. Nobody tied her hands behind her back and shoved her out there.
“She got the opportunity to win or to lose, to finish or to be finished. She had every opportunity in the book, and I think she’ll be glad that she went out for the fifth round and overcame that mental hurdle of not wanting to. She poured her whole heart out there, and I don’t think she’s going to regret that decision.”