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14th May 2018

Tecia Torres reacts to hugely controversial cornering before Raquel Pennington’s brutal knockout loss

They have been engaged for a year

Ben Kiely

Tecia Torres

Tecia Torres could only watch on cageside as her fiancee Raquel Pennington was beaten to a bloody pulp in UFC 224’s headliner.

Raquel Pennington’s corner have received a serious amount of backlash over how the treated their fighter in her women’s bantamweight title fight against Amanda Nunes.

After comprehensively losing the first four rounds of the fight, Pennington wanted the suffering to stop. She was clearly seen and heard looking her corner dead in the eyes and telling them that she was ‘done’ after round four. They told her, ‘No’ and sent her back out to ‘power through’. She was brutally finished just two-and-a-half minutes later.

Fighters, fans and MMA personalities alike came out in force to criticise Pennington’s corner after the fight. Even Nunes called the situation, ‘sad,’ in the post-fight press conference.

 “If she didn’t have 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. I think she really needs to surround herself with the people who want the best for her so she can evolve in her next fights. Unfortunately tonight he failed.”

Defending the decision

While the likes of Nunes, Kevin Lee, Brian Ortega, Rafael dos Anjos and Yves Edwards all strongly disagreed with Pennington’s corner failing to throw in the towel, not everyone is upset with the decision.

Tecia Torres, Pennington’s fiancee and teammate at Colorado Springs’ Triple Threat Gym, isn’t having the backlash. In an Instagram post on Sunday, ‘the Tiny Tornado’ claimed that both she and her wife-to-be agree with the call.

“Both us and our coaches agree with the decision made to go into the 5th round. We know Raquel more than anyone else and know if we let her give up on herself going into the last round she would have always regretted it. She fought with heart and grit until the end.”

Out on your shield

Former UFC women’s bantamweight queen Miesha Tate, who was retired by Pennington, also came out in support of the corner. ‘Cupcake’ gave her take in an interview with SiriusXM Rush.

“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 did get finished but if she really wanted to she could have just said, ‘I’m not gonna go out for the next round.’ 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.

This story doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon. It has brought up a much-needed debate about the role of coaches in the safety of their fighters.