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Donald Cerrone: I was about to write a ‘death letter’ to my family during near-fatal dive

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A few weeks ago, Donald Cerrone’s love for extreme sports and activities almost ended in tragedy. “Cowboy” revealed in an Instagram post that he experienced a total silt out during a cave dive in Mexico, and that he was “happy to be alive” after going through the “scariest moment” of his life.

During his most recent guesting on the JRE MMA Show, Cerrone spoke in detail about the incident, where he also revealed that his wife already had apprehensions about him going.

“I’d just kissed my girl and my new baby,” Cerrone recalled (transcript via MMA Fighting). “She’s like, ‘I don’t really want you to go. The guy you’re going with, I’m worried.’ I said, ‘What are you worried about? I’m coming home.’ This is what I do, I come home every time, I’m coming home.”

“So I order another cylinder of air, just to f—ng have it. No one’s ever died because they have too much air. In cave diving, you dive in thirds, so if we have 3,000 PSI, we’ll do 1,000 PSI in, we’ll do 1,000 PSI out and we have 1,000 PSI in case something f—ng happens.”

According to Cerrone, it is a rule of thumb among divers to prioritize self-preservation above all, and that if worse came to worst, one of them should be able to survive. He decided, however, to break this rule, when he saw his companion in trouble and decided to save him.

It was then when trouble began to arise.

“As soon as I go into the silt, I f—ng lose everything,” he said. “Lose my way, where I am, my up, my down, I don’t know where I am. I’m f—ng panicking now. I’m panicking! F—ng freaking out more than I’ve ever, breathing hard, bang, I hit my head on the f—ng ceiling and I just close my eyes and I’m like, ‘Goddammit calm the f—k down, calm the f—k down, calm the f—k down, breathe.’ I can’t even see my hands in front of me.”

The panic had caused Cerrone to use more air from his tanks than he should, as he was trying to figure his way out of the blackout. At that moment, he admitted to having thoughts of writing a final note to his family.

“When I run out of air, I’m now thinking in my mind, how am I going to die?” Cerrone said. “Tell my wife, tell my kid I’m coming home and now I’ve got to f—ng realize how am I going to die? I have a notepad that you carry in your pocket to draw and write on, I’m thinking, ‘What are you going to say? What’s your letter going to be? You’re writing a f—ng death letter? You’re awake. You’re a fighter. We figure this out. We don’t f—ng find a way to quit, you f—ng bitch.’

“These are the conversations I’m having with myself while I’m in f—ng complete panic mode and complete darkness, thinking that this is how people die. What the f—k are you doing? You’re going to write a letter to your f—ng kid and tell her how you f—d up, ‘I’m sorry, daddy’s not coming home?’”

Cerrone and his companion were eventually able to find their way out. But as he was staring death in the face at that moment, he decided to just let his instincts take over.

“The inner me, the fighter: ‘You figure it the f—k out,’” Cerrone said. “But was I going to write a letter? I was f—ng damn close to writing a letter.”

Cerrone is currently booked to face Mike Perry, as they co-headline UFC Fight Night 139 on November 10th in his hometown of Denver, Colorado.


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