Raquel Pennington lost at UFC 224 – but she didn’t have to lose so badly. The controversy over Pennington’s corner sending her back in to fight – after she told them “I’m done” – rages on. . . 


May 12, 2018; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes (red gloves) vs. Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (blue gloves)​​ during UFC 224 at Jeunesse Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Enough. A broken nose and probably impaired eyesight – Raquel “Rocky” Pennington had had enough. Screw the belt. Screw it all.

She pleaded with her corner, but they refused to throw in the towel. It was time for her to “power through this… to change [her] mindset!” Time to pick herself up. She’d just have to “recover later.”

Two minutes and thirty six seconds later, she was, as she had predicted, done. The blood that was gushing on the canvas would’ve made even the hardest of hardasses a bit squeamish. As I watched Raquel Pennington getting the shit beat of her by UFC’s bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, at UFC 224, I wondered to myself:

“Why hadn’t she insisted? This girl, so used to fighting – why didn’t she fight for her safety?”

I get it, I do. It’s about a dream no one else can see but us. It’s not how many times you can hit, it’s about how many times you can get hit and still move forward. I get it – I swear I do. But when we’re done spewing out the irresponsible clichés, and what you’re left with is fewer brain cells than you came in with, I have to wonder, just what the fuck is wrong with losing? Is there no pride at all in surrendering? In accepting you’ve come as far as you can and that, at this point, you should just let go? Is there no room for humility when it comes to fighting?

When we’re talking about lasting harm to a fighter’s physical integrity, isn’t it time to call on some common sense? Fighting will always involve a loser; that’s what makes it so enthralling to watch. But this isn’t the Roman era – no one has to voluntarily die here or live with long-term brain damage. As it is, martial arts has enough trouble selling itself to Joe Everybody as an honorable and athletic endeavor, not some meathead bloodsport. Maybe it’s time we stop acting like one.

(Title image courtesy of AP Photo/Leo Correa.)







Author Profile

Pascale Fontaine
My name is Pascale Fontaine, I've been learning muay thai for about three years at Académie Sparmax in Rosemère, Canada, under Ajarn Normand Grimard. I attended the TBA Pacific Northwest Annual Muay Thai Training Camp in 2014. I plan on having my first amateur fight in 6 months. I graduated from University of Montréal in 2005 with a degree in literature and in 2008 with a degree in translation.

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