Priscila Cachoeira suffered a devastating injury early in her bout against Valentina Shevchenko, and now her coach reveals that they pushed her to fight through it. And it seems Cachoeira is fine with that.
While UFC Belem was generally regarded as a solid night of fun, action fights for the UFC, the dominating story-line coming out of the event ended up focused on the latest entry into MMA’s history of lax officiating and concern for fighter safety. In the co-main event massive underdog Priscila Cachoeira took on former title challenger and probable champion-in-waiting Valentina Shevchenko.
Things did not go well.
Cachoeira was taken down early in each of the first two rounds on her way to a 2nd round submission loss. Getting out-struck to the tune of 230-3 along the way. The fight could have easily been stopped any time after the opening minute or so, and referee Mario Yamasaki has taken the brunt of the wrath from both the UFC and fans for letting it go as long as he did.
However, in an interview with MMA Fighting, Cachoeira’s coach Giliard Parana revealed he had some responsibility to shoulder as well, having learned that his fighter had injured her knee in the opening round. But, when she informed her corner between rounds, he told her to ignore it and get back out there. Unaware that she had, in fact, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus.
“We didn’t know how serious the injury was,” Parana said. “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 a familiar story in mixed martial arts. The culture around coaching in the sport pushes a narrative that anything can happen as long as a fighter stays in the fight. Throwing in the towel is often actively discouraged. And it’s something that Cachoeira herself seems grateful for.
In a post on Instagram, the Brazilian fighter championed her corner’s decision to let the fight keep going, and dismissed concerns from outsiders unfamiliar with their coach-athlete relationship (translation via MMA Fighting).
”I’ll fight against any fighter in the world, no matter which position she is [in the ranking]. I’d fight Valentina 10 times more without thinking twice. Who chooses easy battles is not a real warrior. The treatment and intimacy that I have with my master, the ones from outside doesn’t know anything to criticize. This is not master and student, it’s father and daughter, and no one can say how he should treat me. And about throwing in the towel, this is PRVT and we’re the ones that know our limits. Throwing in the towel, never.
”Thank you for all the messages of love and support I’ve been receiving. I’m sure I’ve gotten a family for the rest of my life. And those who are criticizing, I don’t care, I’ll come back stronger. ‘A moment will not erase a history.’”
Hopefully Cachoeira can recover as quickly as possible from her injury, and make a better showing in her next UFC bout. In the meantime, she seems comfortable having paid the price for gambling on a big opportunity, and losing badly.