Raquel Pennington is just 33 years old – yet her experience with Covid-19 was the stuff of nightmares. The Invicta alum and current UFC bantamweight fighter revealed:
“In April, I ended up getting COVID,” Pennington said during the UFC Vegas 37 post-fight press conference. “I coach high school gymnastics, and I think from just being around the athletes there, I ended up catching a really bad case. And it kind of just knocked me on my butt. It was pretty scary, honestly. I ended up in the hospital twice. I was on oxygen. I was on steroids for my heart and lungs. The migraine was just one of a kind, it was pain that was going down my spine. They had no answers for me.”
“I remember laying in bed one night and I was just like, ‘This can’t be it.’ Because I really felt like my body was just shutting down on me that was going to be the end of it … Fighting is a part of me, but it’s not who I am. At the end of the day, that was kind of one of those moments that gave you a real life reality check. It taught me to be a lot more grateful of things. I’ve always been grateful, I’ve always felt blessed. But now it just put things into a different perspective. And now I just handle life in a completely different way now.”
“The key to it is just rest, and to take it serious. I mean, I’m a young athlete and the healthiest in my family. And to see it knock me down? I was one of those people who was like if I get sick, I’ll sweat it out or do something, work past it like I’d do with a cold. And yeah, no. That wasn’t the case. So I had to learn how to slow down and find that patience and relax, recover, and that’s taught me a lot when it comes to training too. It’s not about the quantity but the quality.”
Pennington is not the only UFC fighter to have had a rough experience during the pandemic – Sodiq Yusuf and Khamzat Chimaev also reported a myriad of heavy symptoms.
Chimaev’s struggles with the virus were well documented, with manager Majdi Shammas claiming that Chimaev ‘thought he was going to die’ following an incident in which symptoms resulted in him having to go to the hospital.
“His friends called me, ‘Hey, Khamzat can’t even speak.’ His fever is so high, his headache is so much, muscle pain and everything. Then an ambulance came and got him to the hospital. Even when he was in the hospital, he called me, when he called me he thought he was going to die. It was really bad.”
Pennington managed to come back from the rough experience and to win at UFC Fight Night 192. She fought Pannie Kianzad to a rough three round decision.
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