Our strange political season got a little stranger this week when Donald Cerrone, the UFC contender known mainly for his willingness to take fights on a moment’s notice and for his equally reckless love of jet skis, automatic weapons, and canned beer, shrugged off expectations and waxed political at a press conference during the run-up to UFC 205 in New York. And “Cowboy” actually showed himself to be a man of complex political philosophy, a soul filled with ideological contradictions, living proof that straight-ticket consistency can’t always satisfy the diverse desires of the human heart.
Cerrone indulged his right-wing tendencies first, telling reporters that he supports Donald Trump and that he actually found the Republican candidate a complicated and compelling political mind when he met him recently with UFC middleweight, longtime Trump supporter, and occasional Alex Jones co-conspiracy theorist Tim Kennedy. Trump’s not a megalomaniac, Cerrone said; he’s just misunderstood.
“[Trump’s] not just a racist bigot, like a lot of people think, like, ‘Oh, he wants to build a wall and scam the Mexicans out of here,’” Cerrone told reporters. “No, he doesn’t. Just listen. I understand that’s what your aunt’s telling you when she’s drinking wine on Saturday night but that’s not really what’s happening. And when we have two options, do we go with the indicted girl who’s full of shit or do we go with the wild, Conor McGregor Trump? Fuck, who knows?”
Of course, Donald Trump has made building a wall between the United States and Mexico one of the cornerstones of his campaign and Hillary Clinton hasn’t been indicted for anything, but there’s no need to get lost in the details, is there?
Besides, Cerrone is a man of contradictions—like Walt Whitman before him, a man containing multitudes. What other Trump fan, for example, would be such a devoted supporter of the American labor movement? Cerrone not only pledged his support for an MMA fighters union at the press conference, he volunteered to lead it.
"I'll gladly put my head on the chopping block and say I'll be the front face of this motherfucker," Cerrone said. "I've paid my way, man. I've earned the right to sit here and speak. I think there's a lot of people that are scared and not willing to step up and do it. It's gonna take a couple of us and it needs to be done.
"I'm not scared. All I'm saying is we need a fighters union 1,000, million percent, especially with the new owners coming in, and I think now is the time."
Sounding like a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool trade unionist (a kickboxing Samuel Gompers) Cerrone spoke out in favor of collective bargaining not just for fighter pay but for health insurance and even retirement benefits. He even tied the fighters’ struggle into the greater workers rights movement, pointing out that if it weren’t for unions, a friend of his who drives a bulldozer in Las Vegas would be making “nine bucks an hour.”
Right or left, union or no, pot legalization or continued drug war absurdity, Cerrone’s newly vocal political enlightenment is such that it can brook any kind of dissent, as long as those agreeing or disagreeing with him vote. Which, it’s probably good to remember during such a heated election season, is the most important thing when it comes to keeping the whole American experiment in democracy going.
“You can’t have a voice if you don’t vote,” Cerrone said. “You can’t just sit on the sidelines and talk (expletive) and not be active in your community. If you really think that Hilary or (Donald) Trump is the way to go, be heard. Go vote.”
You heard it from Cowboy first.
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