Donald Cerrone was recently interviewed by Tracy Lee about his wakeboarding hobbies and upcoming UFC plans but perhaps the most interesting part of the interview was when he talked about restrictions in place on the new UFC contracts. Making things more interesting was Cerrone basically saying he didn’t really have plans to honor the new deals.
And then the video concludes with Donald doing all sorts of crazy wakeboarding (one of the prohibited activities) for a solid four minutes. Crazy jumps, flips, twists. I don’t know anything about wakeboarding, but Cerrone is doing all that stuff.
Here’s what Donald had to say about the new UFC contracts and restrictions they have in place:
“They say you can’t snowboard, wakeboard, bungee jump, all kinds of ridiculous things. Horseback riding, yeah. Which, I own horses and I will not NOT ride them. So I guess I just down with Dana and figure this out. But that’s who I am, you know? I’m just wild and crazy and I need these things…I can’t get painted into a corner is what I’m saying. So…I gotta…gotta figure it out.”
A few things here.
First, “dangerous activity restrictions” on pro sports contracts aren’t new, nor are they unreasonable. NBA player Jay Williams was injured riding a motorcycle, a violation of the dangerous activities portion of his contract. The Chicago Bulls chose to pay him a portion of his contracted money but the contract violation meant that they legally could have paid him nothing. A similar situation happened with NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. and a motorcycle accident. And so on. The idea being that the team made an investment in you and you have a responsibility to not put their investment at unnecessary risk.
Second, these clauses exist for people who enjoy those things. So, Cerrone saying “that’s who I am” is kind of meaningless. The idea is that they want that to not be who you are because of the risk involved. You fall off a horse and break your leg, sidelining you for a year, that isn’t prevented by your enjoyment of riding horses.
The real question is if this type of contract is entirely fair. An NFL, NBA, MLB..etc. player has a specific season and gets paid a guaranteed amount based on contracts established through guidelines negotiated for as part of a collective bargaining agreement with player union representation. Technically the UFC can give you one fight a year paying you a set amount negotiated on your last contract (with no sort of fighter representation beside that fighter’s agent) for that one fight and leave you sidelined the rest of the year. And while not guaranteed any specific amount of pay, you’re restricted in day-to-day hobbies and activities.
Of course, the other argument is that the UFC featuring a guy like Cerrone on multiple cards has entirely created his value. And they have a right to limit the risk to his health so that they can cash in on the value they have created in him.
Update: For the sake of being perfectly clear, Cerrone does not currently have a contract with the UFC under these restrictions. These are in new UFC deals, not in the majority of existing deals. But, they would likely be included on Cerrone’s next deal, hence the “I need to sit down with Dana” comments.
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