The Julianna Pena saga continues, as her coach released a statement saying there was no horseplay or assault in regards to her injury.
The statement from Rick Little, which can be read in its entirety at MMA Junkie, goes on to explain her injury was the result of a training accident.
The accident was plain and simple. It was a training accident that happened with her normal 145lb training partner for years. There wasn’t any horseplay or assault. I guarantee the guy would be in the same condition as her if there was. The problem I have with all this is that my gym and her training partner got put on blast with no facts.
In case you're behind in the story, allow me to bring you up to speed. UFC president Dana White would go on to say Pena's injury was "the most disgusting thing I have ever heard" and that she'd be out for two years with a horrific knee injury.
Little, the coach at Sik-Jitsu Fighting Systems, would respond to White by pointing out that two Ultimate Fighter winners have come from that camp.
Little goes on to take blame for the injury in the statement, saying that they're too small of a gym to have let Pena sit on the sidelines for an extended period of time. Little said plenty of his top fighters have competed with injuries before and that Pena has been in camp since March 1 prior to TUF.
I'm not sure why Little would allow his fighters to train like that for such an extended period of time. Whether you agree overtraining is a real thing or not, it's not good for one's body to be doing two- or three-a-days for that long.
Pena's teammate Sam Sicilia did his best to discredit White's claims of assault or foul play, but it's hard to take him seriously considering he wasn't there.
Little attempts to make it seem as though he was concerned for Pena's well-being, but if that were true, he wouldn't have allowed Pena to continue a training schedule that was detrimental to her long-term health. Saying no may not be easy, but that's why you're the coach.
However, until Pena comes out and makes a statement herself, this issue will boil down to a he said-he said argument with no resolution.