Raquel Pennington Gets Real On Sean Strickland’s LGBTQ Remarks

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There’s nothing quite like a Sean Strickland fight week… especially this last one at UFC 297.

Before losing the title to Dricus Du Plessis, the former UFC Middleweight Champion sure made a lot of noise at the official media day in Toronto. There, Strickland would go on a tirade like he usually does when fielded questions from the media.

In the pre-fight interview, Strickland went off on a reporter who asked him about his past comments on the LGBTQ community. Strickland refused to walk back those homophobic and transphobic remarks, deciding to add more fuel to the already controversial fire instead.

Raquel Pennington, who is openly gay and married to fellow UFC fighter Tecia Torres, reveals how she felt about Strickland’s comments after her bantamweight title win over Mayra Bueno Silva on Saturday.

“For people like that, it hurts my heart like to pass so much judgment,” Pennington told Sportsnet regarding what Strickland has previously said. “At the end of the day, the things he says doesn’t impact my life and it’s never gonna impact my life. Like, it’s not gonna change what I’m doing and how happy I am and how full my heart is.

“But you know, things that are said like that and the judgment that’s passed, it really impacts people and stuff like that is not okay.

For the most part, ‘Rocky’ turned a blind eye to whatever Strickland had to say during fight week. However, the new UFC Champion shares that her family as well as UFC CEO Dana White were concerned about her well-being. 

“I honestly ignored all the noise this week, and so it was just outside distractions. I heard about it just because I was doing so much media. But, other than that, it is what it is.

“My family reached out to me about [Sean Strickland’s comments]. Dana [White] came and talked to me before the press conference with everything to see how I was holding up about things. I heard bits and pieces here and just the things he was saying, but you know what? That’s on him. It’s not on me. Like I said, it’s not gonna impact my life, but the fact that he could pass so much judgment or just make disgusting comments, like kind of shows what kind of person he is.”

Don’t get the wrong idea though, Pennington is all for people speaking their mind.

“They’re about freedom of speech and that’s fine. Everybody’s allowed that,” Pennington continued. “You’re allowed your own opinion and you’re allowed to feel the way that you wanna feel. I just feel that’s the reason why the world is the way it is.

“So many people have to make so many other comments about other people’s lives or the way that they live, or, you know, gender and race. It stems from there. It’s like, I can learn so much from you, you can learn so much from me if you’re just willing to sit there and listen and learn. There’s a bunch of good people in the world, but that’s what the world’s always gonna look like.”

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Christopher De Santiago is a journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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