UFC, MMA Fighting & Combat Sports Lifestyle

UFC, MMA Fighting & Combat Sports Lifestyle

Raquel Pennington Responds to Sean Strickland’s Controversial Comments at UFC 297


The lead-up to UFC 297 was marked by the controversial comments of former UFC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland during the official media day in Toronto. Despite losing the title to Dricus Du Plessis, Strickland’s remarks, particularly regarding the LGBTQ+ community, stirred significant attention and criticism. Raquel Pennington, openly gay and newly crowned UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, shared her thoughts on Strickland’s comments and how they affected her during fight week.

Raquel Pennington’s Response

In a post-fight interview with Sportsnet, Pennington expressed her perspective on Strickland’s comments, stating, “For people like that, it hurts my heart to pass so much judgment.” She emphasized that while Strickland’s words don’t impact her life, such remarks can affect others and are not acceptable. Pennington, also known as “Rocky,” mentioned turning a blind eye to the noise during fight week but acknowledged her family and UFC CEO Dana White expressing concern for her well-being.

Pennington addressed the media coverage surrounding Strickland’s comments, highlighting her decision to focus on the fight and not engage in sensationalism. She revealed that her family and Dana White reached out to check on her, demonstrating genuine concern amid the controversial situation.

Josh Thomson, a former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, commended Pennington’s response during an episode of the WEIGHING IN podcast. He praised her for suggesting a discussion with Strickland and for not providing the media with sensational material. Pennington’s poised response, offering a potential dialogue with Strickland, reflected her commitment to addressing the situation with class and maturity.

UFC’s Stance and Dana White’s Comments

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Dana White, when asked about Strickland’s rant, asserted that the UFC won’t police fighters’ expressions or views, citing freedom of speech. He suggested that Strickland may have been baited into his tirade. White pointed out that two gay women, Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva, fought in the co-main event and appeared unfazed by Strickland’s comments. Listen to the full interview here.

Conclusion and Future Perspectives

Pennington’s nuanced take on tolerance, understanding, and the impact of hurtful comments highlighted her courage in speaking out. As controversies surrounding fighters’ remarks continue, there is a call for individuals within the sport and its community to address such issues responsibly. Pennington’s dignified response serves as a reminder of the importance of promoting positive discourse and inclusivity in the world of mixed martial arts.

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