Kenny Florian Criticizes ‘Irresponsible’ Coach Cornering Raquel Pennington

Kenny Florian explains why Raquel Pennington's corner let her down no matter how much she's defending them in the aftermath of her loss to Amanda Nunes

The controversy surrounding Raquel Pennington being allowed to go out for the fifth round in her title fight against Amanda Nunes continues to swirl nearly a week after UFC 224 was finished.

At the end of the fourth round, Pennington went to her corner and told her coaches ‘I’m done…I want to be done’ before they ultimately talked her into going back out for one more try. The end result was Nunes finishing Pennington shortly thereafter with a devastating elbow strike followed by a barrage of punches.

In the aftermath of that situation, Pennington defended her head coach Jason Kutz for knowing what she needed in that moment by not allowing her to quit on the stool.

Regardless of Pennington’s opinion on the matter, former UFC title challenger Kenny Florian still has an issue with the way things played out because he’s seen these situations dozens of times before.

Rarely will a fighter ask to get out of a fight much less use the words ‘I’m done’ and in that case Florian says Pennington’s coaches failed to do their No. 1 job, which is to protect her from harm.

“You’ve got to put all the pieces of this equation together here,” Florian said on the latest episode of “UFC Tonight” “First of all, she was going against Amanda Nunes, a very dangerous striker. She was also going against a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Amanda Nunes. She was out classed heading into this fight, in my opinion. Now it wasn’t like this fight was close. If this fight was close, then absolutely that coach should say ‘hey you know what listen, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that, this is what you need to do to get back in this fight’. She was asking to get out of this fight. She wasn’t asking for advice or for what she needed to do.

“So to me I think it was a little bit irresponsible. I don’t know the coach’s background that much, I know he’s a wrestling coach. He wrestled at a very high level and he deserves a lot of respect for that, but unless you’ve experienced a broken nose in a fight. Unless you’ve been in a fight and been hurt and going against another fighter that can hurt you even more, I don’t think he has business being in there as a corner, as a head corner. Cause the No. 1 responsibility as a corner is protect your fighter. After that, we can talk about advice for the fight. But your No. 1 responsibility — protect your fighter and he did not do that, that night.”

Kutz has justified his decision to talk Pennington into going back out to finish the fight rather than stopping at the end of the fourth round.

By all accounts this is a subject that’s going to continue to be debated for the immediate future, especially in the culture where corners rarely ever throw in the towel in mixed martial arts.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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