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Donald Cerrone mystified by illness that led to UFC 274 withdrawal, refutes street taco theory

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UFC 274 Ceremonial Weigh-in
Donald Cerrone | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Donald Cerrone rarely pulls out of fights for any reason and his recent withdrawal from a highly anticipated fight with Joe Lauzon still has him scratching his head.

The lightweight veterans were scheduled to fight at UFC 274 this past May and both fighters successfully weighed in for the bout. However, the bout was cancelled on fight day when doctors would not clear Cerrone to compete due to an illness.

For Cerrone, missing a fight due to an illness was a first, but it quickly became clear that he was in no condition to compete.

“I had never been that sick ever and I tried to pretend it was OK,” Cerrone said. “Doctors were like, ‘OK, we’re going to let you have until 3:00 and at at 3:00 when we come in here, we’re gonna do some tests and if you’re not ready we’re calling the fight.’ And at 3:00 when they came in, they called the fight. It was really weird. I got, like, food poisoning, but I was all vertigo-y.

“You know like when you drink too much with your buddies and you get home at 3 a.m. and then you’ve got to put your foot on the floor to quit spinning. It was like that, it was really odd. I remember I would stand up and I would close my eyes, the strangest feeling.”

Cerrone informed a friend that he wasn’t feeling well, but they both initially dismissed it as nerves (Cerrone has spoken openly in the past about being regularly experiencing pre-fight jitters). However, it wasn’t long before Cerrone found himself vomiting and dry heaving.

UFC President Dana White said at the UFC 274 post-fight press conference that Cerrone became sick after eating tacos at a restaurant in Phoenix, a theory that Cerrone doesn’t buy.

“Every day we’d drive by and there was a stop light and right across was this taco shop,” Cerrone said. “It was Cinco de Mayo and it was booming and I was like, ‘God, that looks good.’ Then the next day we drove by, yeah that looks good, check, that’s getting on the list. So we all ate there, but I don’t think that was it because how could I be the only one that was sick? There was probably 25 of us that went. My kids, my wife, my grandma. Nobody else got ill.

“But I did eat this tapioca something at the deli downstairs. I think that’s what it could have been. I don’t think it was the street tacos. Everybody ate it. Me and my kids ate off the same plate. Plus, I got a crocodile gut, man. I can eat the egg sandwich from the gas station and be OK. Who knows what it was. It was wild. No pinpoint to it. Everyone’s like, ‘I can’t believe you ate street tacos.’ Hell yeah I did, they were good as s*** too.”

Cerrone’s fight with Lauzon was later rescheduled and takes place this Saturday at UFC Austin.

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