The Chaos of the Corner

I felt like right now was the time to touch on this subject while the controversy surrounding the actions of Racquel Pennington’s corner was fresh in our minds coming off their recent title bout. There was a moment in between rounds that has caused Pennington’s camp to draw a lot of criticism. Pennington was very vocal about wanting the fight to be stopped, and her corner told her they were not going to call the fight for her. Before I jump too deep into why I 100% agree with her corner’s decision, let me remind all of the readers out there that at any point Racquel Pennington could have tapped. The decision to forfeit is always within the fighter’s grasp. At any point during that championship contest Racquel could have folded, she didn’t. She fought like a warrior for every minute of that bout.

Now let’s touch on a couple things on this bout specifically before I jump into what I call the “Chaos of the Corner”. Racquel was fighting for the UFC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!! A position I’m sure like most fighters from the moment she stepped into the gym she had aspired to be in. Your team in a lot of ways knows you better than your family when you’re fighting at that level. They’ve seen the work you’ve put in and been a part of it. They’ve seen you shed blood, sweat, and tears to get to the spot that you’re in exactly in that moment. So before I go further I have zero criticism of Pennington’s corner and I believe that they made the best decision for their fighter as they know her best.

Ok, let’s jump into this now. In between rounds you have 60 seconds as a corner to get your fighter settled, tended to, to discuss the game plan, make any changes necessary, not a lot of time there folks. I try my best ahead of time to coach my fighters on how they should spend their time in the corner. Here’s a quick list of things that I access even during the round to make sure I spend my time in the most efficient manner as possible to ensure a successful outcome for my fighter.

  1. Are there any injuries that needed addressed?
  2. The fighter should listen in the corner and not talk unless asked a question.
  3. Are they listening during the round/sticking to the gameplan?
  4. BREATHE!!!
  5. Usually movement and a high guard are the things I have to remind the fighter of.
  6. Finally, leave the corner on a positive note. Even if your fighter is not listening to a single thing you say during rounds you want your fighter to leave the corner with a sense of hope and positive outlook.
  7. WORST CASE SCENARIO: Make sure the fighter knows they’re down 2 rounds and express the need for ACTION, not desperation, ACTION. You want your fighter to be ruthless, not wreckless.

You have to think of the time in between rounds for a corner the same as you would the pit crew at a NASCAR race. You have a lot to get done to make sure that engine and car is at it’s very best headed into the next lap and you don’t have a lot of time to do it.  So before judgement is passed on any corner’s decision you have to realize the chaos that is being a cornerman.

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