There was a bit of controversy right before the fifth round of the UFC 224 main event fight between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington on Saturday night. Pennington’s coach Jason Kutz decided to let his fighter continue, despite Rocky’s statement of being “done” after the beatings she took in the previous four rounds.
Kutz never got to air his side of the story until Monday, when he appeared on the MMA Hour. Despite the criticisms thrown at him, Kutz stood by his decision.
“I’m not regretting that decision at all,” Kutz said (via MMA Fighting). “The coaching staff isn’t regretting it. But most importantly, Raquel is not regretting it. So there you have it. We’re going to move forward and learn and grow from this, and keep on keeping on.”
Kutz further defended himself by stating that he was merely trying to push his fighter to the limit, and at the time, he genuinely saw that Pennington could have turned things around.
“What I’m going to say is, the way she said it, and more importantly, the look in her eye — that’s what I don’t think people understand,” Kutz said. “When you spend four hours a day doing what she does and doing what we do, I know her. I can read her face like a book.”
“And I know that had she stopped [the fight] right then and there, and I’ve talked to her about this afterward — like, ‘Hey, in 10 years when you look back at this, I think you’d be kicking yourself in the pants had you not gone out there.’
“I knew it was going to take an extraordinary effort because she had to stop Amanda,” he continued. “She had to do something huge, right? Something extraordinary. And if I didn’t think that Raquel could do something extraordinary, then hey, we would’ve went the other way with it.”
“And the thing is, like I said, the mentality of her at that moment, I just felt if she could somehow flip it around and go out there and do something extraordinary, we got a chance. And you know what? She trained her ass off for a long time to get this title shot, and in the fifth round of the title fight, I know her leg hurts, but hey, I thought that she could go out there and go.”
The loss to Nunes snapped Pennington’s four-fight win streak, as she now drops to a record of 9-6, with four wins by stoppage.