“I can't really talk about how sparring went or what we did,” Pennington told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “Ronda asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so I did.”
Yesterday, UFC on FOX 23 headliner Julianna Pena elaborated on those details and claimed ‘Rowdy’s’ sparring partners were not allowed to hit her in the face and were threatened with a $1 million lawsuit if they leaked information.
“She's not allowed to get hit in sparring," Pena said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (h/t Dan Hiergesell of MMA Mania). "These girls have to sign these waivers to say that ‘We never hit Ronda, and we'll never talk about this type of training ever and all this stuff, you know? She's not really taking the toll in the fight camp of getting punched in the face legitimately so she doesn't really know what that feels like."
"She's a superstar and they don't want to see her get any damage. So, it's like whenever the girls would go hard on her, whenever they'd come forward and start banging it out on her, they'd tell them, ‘Hey. Knock it off. Stop it. Don't hit her so hard and then sign this waiver and say that you were never here and that you never punched her. Don't ever talk about how well you did in training and stuff like that because you have to sign this dotted line or else we'll sue you for a million dollars.'"
Rousey, 29, lost in her championship comeback fight against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. The Olympic bronze medalist lost the bantamweight title to Holly Holm at UFC 193 and was gifted an immediate title shot against current champ Nunes. Rousey was overwhelmed with a barrage of strikes from the opening bell and referee Herb Dean was forced to intervene and stop the fight just 48 seconds into first round.
Pena, a winner of four straight, will take on the No. 1 ranked Valentina Shevchenko in what is billed as a number one contender’s bout at UFC on FOX 23. The event takes place later tonight, Jan. 28, at the Pepsi Center in Denver Colorado.