Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone spoke recently with Ariel Helwani about Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election, why he is so vehemently supporting a UFC fighters union, his upcoming fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 205, and much more.
Cowboy reported he stayed up until 2:30 a.m. watching election results and was pleased that Donald Trump is the president-elect.
“So when he first started with it all, I was like no way,” said Cerrone, as transcribed by Chuck Mindenhallfor MMA Fighting. “No way. This guy is outlandish. Then, as it started going on I started following him and listening to what he had to say, and I was like this dude might do it. He might do it. Then the last couple of months, just getting involved with it, and I was like, he’s going to do it. We knew if he got Illinois and he got Florida, he’d have won. Then Illinois went democrat, Florida went republican, I was like oh man. Then he got [Pennsylvania], and I was like, oh s***, there it is.”
Cowboy also segued perhaps a little improbably from his support for Trump to his support for a fighter’s union.
“Totally against Republican standings,” conceded Cerrone.
“Just like Roosevelt said, if I’m going to work in a factory, I’m going to part of a union. So something needs to be done. I’m coming up in a couple years on my 10-year mark. if I was in any other sport, [after] 10 years, I would have a pension. I’d have retirement. I’d have something.”
“I don’t know anything about unions. So I’ve never been in a union, never been part of a union. I’m the stupidest person you could ever talk to [about unions]. If somebody ever came to me with some kind of questions I would have no idea.
“Since I openly said that, I’ve had a couple people that are trying to create unions call me and contact me, and I said ‘listen I got to sit down with you guys, I’ve got to understand, first off what me and the other fighters are looking for, and what you guys are trying to address,’ because I know nothing. It’s just something that needs to be done, and I feel like we need a face to do it, so it’s f***in time.”
There are currently at least two efforts underway to organize fighters. Rob Maysey’s MMAFA has worked tirelessly since 2009 advocating for a players association. Newcomer Jeff Boris’s Professional Fighters Association started this summer and aims to unionize UFC fighters, who are currently considered to be independent contractors, which adds a layer of complexity to the process.
The two groups do not necessarily see to eye on all issues, and Helwani asked Cerrone if he was attached to a particular organizing group.
“No, nope, with nobody,” said Cerrone. “All I did was talk. No affiliation with anybody. Because I know nothing. … I want to know when you ask me ‘Cowboy, why are you standing for this union,’ I can say, ‘this, this, this, and this.’ Right now I know nothing.”
Helwani said it was interesting to hear Cowboy’s stance, given that he has long been a company guy, willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.
“I’m still a company guy,” said Cerrone. “I’m still a company guy.”
Helwani pressed with the discussion.
“Have you come to the realization, maybe, that being a company guy at the end of the day when your career is over doesn’t maybe leave you with that security that you’re looking for?” asked the reporter.
Cerrone then uncharacteristically paused.
“Ooo, maybe,” he replied.
“Nothing has changed,” he added, referring to his anyone, anywhere, anytime attitude. “I’m still a company guy, still going to fight all the time. I just … getting older. What happens when Cowboy’s done? Is he going to be sitting out here in New York city with a Will Fight For Food sign? Yah, it’s time.
“There’s a lot of guys that I’ve seen come in and fight, and they got washed out. Where are they now? I don’t know. F***. I’m barely holding on.
“Led by Cowboy. Trump and Cowboy making America great again.”
Cerrone also said he was unsure about when it would happen, but believed that, barring he gets released, it would happen during his career, perhaps in 2017.