UFC president Dana White believes one of his UFC 246 headliners is being disrespected and he is not happy. While speaking about the first pay-per-view event of the year, White was asked about Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Cerrone, a fan-favorite and veteran of mixed martial arts, was called on to welcome former two-division champion Conor McGregor back to the Octagon.
And while it is understandable that McGregor is receiving a bulk of the attention for his highly-anticipated return, the UFC boss can’t believe that Cerrone is being disrespected and counted out.
“We’re getting through this one first, we’re getting through the Cowboy fight,” White said during a sitdown with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “And the level of disrespect shown to Cowboy through this whole thing? Apparently people forgot that Cowboy’s lost two in a row before and come back and gone on unbelievable runs. Let’s not count Cowboy out.”
The disrespect towards Cowboy was evident during a recent 25-second spot on ESPN that exclusively showed Conor McGregor and teased his debut on ESPN+. Throughout the ad, there was never any mention of Cerrone or a single highlight. We’ll have to see whether that leads to Cowboy entering the cage with a chip on his shoulder.
According to BetMGM.com, McGregor has opened as nearly a 3-to-1 favorite. The moneyline currently has the former two-division champion as a -278 favorite for the welterweight bout while Cowboy sits at +200. That means a $100 wager on Cerrone would net you $200 in wins, while you would have to bet $278 on McGregor to win $100.
McGregor last appeared inside of the Octagon in October 2018 when he suffered a submission loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Prior to his loss to Nurmagomedov, McGregor was on a two-fight winning streak with a welterweight bout victory over Nate Diaz and a Performance of the Night against Eddie Alvarez to claim the 155-pound title on November 12, 2016. However, McGregor was later stripped of the title due to inactivity — he was previously stripped of the featherweight belt after winning the lightweight crown.
Cerrone, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after a two-fight losing streak. “Cowboy” went 2-2 in 2019 with wins over Al Iaquinta and Alexander Hernandez, while suffering losses to top lightweight contenders Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Three of Cerrone’s last four fights earned him $50,000 bonuses for Fight of the Night.
The UFC 246 main card will officially kickoff at 10:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 18 exclusively on pay-per-view.