Miesha Tate has spoken up in defense of the Raquel Pennington UFC 224 corner.
The main event saw Raquel Pennington challenge Amanda Nunes for the UFC bantamweight championship. The first two rounds were competitive, but Nunes began to pull away in the second half of the fight. At the end of the fourth round, Pennington appeared to have a broken nose and, at this point, was donning a very swollen face. What has been the biggest conversation piece from this fight is not Amanda Nunes making her third successful title defense, but the fact that Pennington was thrown back in the Lioness’ den when she vocalized that she wanted out. The Pennington corner have already experienced great backlash from many people on the way they handled the situation, but Miesha Tate is not one of them. Speaking with MMA on SiriusXM, Tate stepped forward in defense of the Pennington corner:
“I would have done the same thing if I were in her corner’s shoes. It’s important that a fighter loses with dignity, and I think Raquel lost with dignity. She went out there, and she got finished. She went out on her shield. And 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 is not let her give up on herself…get her back in the game mentally.”
Miesha Tate is speaking from experience, having coached Pennington in the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter. And Tate draws from this experience to speak knowledgeably on who Pennington is as a fighter:
“That’s not really the fighter Raquel is anyway. She was just exhausted and being honest with her emotions at that point. But it doesn’t mean that she was done.”
Tate also believes that gender is playing a factor in the criticism the Pennington corner is facing:
“I kind of think that if it was a male fight, it wouldn’t be such a hot topic of discussion. The man sent the woman back out there and she got bloodied up and finished. She’s a fighter, you know? That’s what fighters do. Fighters go out and fight. And if we lose, we lost because we went out on our shield.”
In the end, Tate says that even though Pennington did not walk away with the gold, she will look back and be glad that she finished the battle:
“I get that she was saying that she wanted to be done, but a lot of people want to be done going into the fifth round of a war.” Tate continues, “I think she’s going to say, ‘I’m glad I went out in the fifth round. I’m glad my coach gave me that extra nudge’ that she got to go out and go out on her shield. 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. And I would appreciate my coach supporting me in every effort to win a world title. She put her whole heart out there and I don’t think she’s going to regret that decision.”
What do you think of Miesha’s comments? Does she provide a strong defense of the Pennington corner’s actions?