(Listen, man. I’m gonna make this up to ya’. I won’t kill ya’ and I’ll be your date for my afterparty.)
In the future, like most major corporations, the UFC and WEC will likely hand out employee handbooks to new signees that list behavioural expectations.
On the "DO" list will be things like:
"Hype a fight at all costs, no matter how uninteresting. You may call your opponent a bitch and mention that you want to hurt him if it helps to hype the fight."
"Sit out a year if it means you will hold your place in line for the next title shot when the injured champion of your division returns."
On the "DON’T" list will be things like:
"Pull out of a fight due to injury and agree to appear in a movie, no matter how much you need the money and if that is the case, don’t talk about how poor you may be."
"Mention in an interview that you want your opponent to die inside the Octagon or insinuate or proclaim that he is a homosexual."
Until they start handing out the manual, they are no doubt going to have to keep apologizing for not only the bad behavior, but also the stupid remarks made by their fighters like Frank Mir and Donald Cerrone.
Mir was the first fighter on the Zuffa roster who received a stern talking to by the company’s president, Dana White, for poorly thought out comments he made ahead of his UFC 100 bout with Brock Lesnar about how he wanted the UFC heavyweight champion to die in the cage from injuries he sustained in the bout.
Fast forward 14 months from Mir’s facepalm sound byte, which was picked up by opponents of the sport like New York Assemblyman, Bob Reilly, who used the offhanded comments as ammunition for his argument that MMA and those involved in the sport are barbaric and inhuman, and Cerrone has seen Mir’s "I want my opponent to die in the Octagon" remark and raised it with a "my opponent is a homosexual" of his own.
Here’s the brunt of what Cerrone said about his September 30 WEC 51 opponent, Jamie Varner‘s heart and sexual preference during an appearance on TapouT Radio earlier this week:
“I don’t know if I can say any more shit about Jamie Varner. I’ve exhausted myself talking about how he has no backbone and what a bitch he is and I really can’t say much more. I just hope he shows up, I hope he just doesn’t throw himself [into a car out] in front of traffic before the fight so he doesn’t have to come. This is real, this isn’t like the WEC trying to get us to you know to amp it up, which I’m not. He’s really a fag. I mean, that’s what he is, you know, and his true colors will show up. You can’t hide your colors, man. They’re going to turn up and everyone’s going to see. He’s going to call timeout or he’s going to look for a way out, he’s got the bitch gene, man, and when you have a bitch gene it don’t matter what you do you can’t fight and you’re either born with it and that’s who you are as a person and you can’t fix that, you know, and it’s going to come out…He has no backbone. He has no spine. He’s just a little bitch, man. I can’t take nothin’ away from the guy as a fighter; I think he’s a champion. He’s a great fighter, but as a person and when the going gets tough – when he all of a sudden is the nail and no longer the hammer – he’s a little bitch. He looks for a way out. He calls time-outs, you know what I mean?"
And here’s what "Cowboy" had to say about wanting Varner to die during their upcoming fight:
“I hope my emotions have everything to do with this fight. I hope they come out and I’m just fucking fired up and all I want to do is go out there and kill him. That’s what going to get me going that first round, you know. I want to come in that first round and just rip his face off, you know, that’s the plan. I don’t want to come in and sit back and let him dictate it. I hope my emotions drive me. I fight better on emotion. Ask Leonard [Garcia]. He trains me every day. When I’m hot and some new guy comes in the gym and wants to throw down, that’s when I do my best, you know. So, I hope my emotions take over and I just kill this dude. I hope this is the first death in MMA.”
In his defense, Cerrone isn’t the first fighter to ever insinuate that an opponent is gay, nor is he the first to say that he wants to murder someone in the cage, but it’s the timing of his smack talk that is the problem.
MMA is a young sport that is still struggling to gain worldwide mainstream acceptance. When comments like Mir’s and Cerrone’s show up at the top of a search on Google for MMA news, mainstream outlets take notice, but that’s not the type of media attention the sport needs.
That’s why the apology to Varner above, which he issued almost immediately after taping the show was trumped today by a damage control statement released by the WEC condemning Cerrone’s comments.
Here’s what the promotion had to say about the situation:
"In a recent radio interview, WEC fighter Donald Cerrone went too far in talking about his upcoming fight with Jamie Varner and we believe he crossed a line of decency in doing so," WEC Vice President Peter Dropick said. "We will not tolerate a fighter who makes comments that are not consistent with our company values, nor will we tolerate the use of slurs that may offend any segment of the public. We are aware Donald issued his own immediate apology on Twitter, but we still needed to speak with him about it, and to issue our own statement making our position known.”
From the statement, it’s obvious that the promotion is a bit pissed with Cerrone, and rightly so, but what is unclear if there will be repercussions for the former WEC number one lightweight contender.
We may have seen the last of Cerrone on a WEC main card for a while.