According to Donald Cerrone, there is plenty of animosity heading into his next fight, but it’s not directed at his opponent.
Appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience on Wednesday, “Cowboy” explained how he found himself in an awkward situation when an offer came along for him to fight Mike Perry at UFC Denver on Nov. 10. Perry recently joined the Jackson-Wink team in Albuquerque, N.M., where Cerrone has trained for over a decade, and though Cerrone has no problem stepping into the cage with Perry, he was concerned about sharing the gym with his future opponent and voiced his concern to his coaches, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
“I went to talk to Greg and Wink and say, ‘Hey, this guy’s brand new to the gym. He’s only been here one camp, a couple of months. I don’t think that it’s okay for him to come in and call me out. That’s not right. So if he is doing that, I don’t think we should allow him to train here for this fight,’” Cerrone said. “Then f**king Winkeljohn tells me, ‘I thought you called him out’, he’s just a s**t-ass and lies to your face, so to me he was like, ‘Sure, no problem, we’ll clear it up and we won’t have any issues.’”
The next day, Winkeljohn allegedly called Cerrone and told him that the team had had a meeting and decided that Perry would train at Jackson-Wink and Cerrone was not welcome to prepare for UFC Denver there. Cerrone doesn’t believe there was any meeting and he says that Winkeljohn just wants to be paid because he deals directly with Perry, while Cerrone’s working relationship has always been with Jackson.
If Cerrone has any problem with his longtime coach, it’s that he feels Jackson didn’t back him up in this scenario.
“With Greg, his name is on that building. It’s Jackson-Wink. Jackson-f**king-Wink,” Cerrone said. “When it came time to pick the decision and they said, ‘We want to go with Perry.’ Why the f**k didn’t you stand — because Greg’s still with me — he’s like, ‘I’ll just come to the ranch and we’ll sort this out.’ And I’m like, ‘What the f**k are you talking about?’ You tell me I can’t come into the Jackson-Wink gym, but you’re going to backdoor and come into my f**king house and we’re going to train to fight while Perry’s there at the gym.
“You see everything he does and then you’re going to come and you’re going to train me, not to mention you’re holding classes there and — you might not be training him to beat me, but there’s a lot of people there that have trained with me for f**king years. So to me that was the point I was saying. Can we just not have him there for this camp?”
Cerrone believes Winkeljohn wasn’t pleased with him establishing his own gym, the BMF Ranch, but Cerrone blames Winkeljohn for creating a subpar training environment at Jackson-Wink and motivating him to branch off on his own.
Jackson formed a partnership with Winkeljohn in 2007 and Cerrone thinks the gym has gone downhill ever since. He accused Winkeljohn of prioritizing profit over quality of training and allowing anyone to work with the remaining pros at the gym as long as they paid their fee.
“When Winklejohn merged over, all the big pros left, it turned into a puppy mill,” Cerrone said. “Back when Greg had it, and it was its own school, you couldn’t turn up to a pro class. Some guy couldn’t just come here, knock on your door, and the next thing you know he has shin pads on and he’s sparring.
“Literally at the new gym, bums come in off the street — I swear to God — and will come in and put stuff on and fight. That’s a true story. Random bums off the street. That would never happen back in the day.”
Cerrone also criticized the quality of the coaching at the gym, claiming that an unnamed wrestling coach was fired from a college for selling steroids and bases his lessons around techniques he learned on YouTube.
It’s this mismanagement that Cerrone points to as the reason that the Jackson-Wink gym — which at various points in its history has been home to past UFC champions like Jon Jones, Holly Holm, Rashad Evans, and Georges St-Pierre, among other standouts— is no longer the force it once was in his eyes.
“You should have an infrastructure set in place, especially if you’re the greatest at one time,” Cerrone said. “If your winning percentages are in the 80s and 90s and now they’re in the 20s. I have no clue what the winning record of our gym is, but it’s nothing like it used to be. It’s f**king asinine to me.”
MMA Fighting reached out to Winkeljohn, but a request for a comment was not immediately returned.