Joe Lauzon isn’t happy about having his fight pulled out from under him at UFC 274.
Lauzon was supposed to face Donald Cerrone in a highly anticipated lightweight matchup at UFC 274. But just hours before the fight was supposed to go down, Cerrone was forced out of the fight due to illness, reportedly the result of food poisoning. It was an unfortunate setback for Lauzon, who hasn’t competed since 2019.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Lauzon talked through the experience and how he reacted to the news.
” I tried my best to not cry,” he stated. “Of course, I did cry a little bit. Because of all the effort put in, I felt so angry. We knew about this fight in the first week of February. We’ve trained so hard that it feels like three months. Because we were getting ready to fight, all of the conditioning was a part of our training.
“I blew off family vacation … . We cancelled vacation and I was like, ‘I promise we’ll go right after this fight.’ Then it gets moved from April 30 to May 7. It’s now like: What do we do? Is it possible to fight within two weeks? Are we going to fight in six weeks? Is it possible to fight for four months? What is the likelihood of this fight happening? There are so many issues .”
Lauzon’s pay is one of his biggest concerns. The lightweight veteran has not competed in over two years and noted that he “neglected” his gym during his fight preparation. The UFC often pays fighters show money in situations such as this. But, according to him, it was not his fault that he wasn’t able to make significantly more.
“I talked to Sean Shelby and he’s like, ‘Ah, Cowboy’s sick. It’s really hard to believe. I know how much this sucks. “We’ll try to schedule it again within six weeks, and get you booked,” Lauzon stated. “It’s easy to say that. Sean Shelby is in a position that I can understand. He has to change all the fights. His losses are inevitable, and he must shift the fights. He has to adjust, which I completely understand. My entire life revolves around it. Some people are not as focused as others. It would be impossible to not be focused. This was the center of my whole life. This is just not possible right now. It’s a pain…
I believe they will give me show money, and the Venum money. I think my show money is $74,000, so I’ll get $74,000 and I’ll get $21,000. It’s almost like I never got the chance. I could have not trained and shown up and got kicked in the face and made $95,000. This was not the point. It was about, I want to get that win money, I want to get that bonus money. It could have easily been a $250,000, $230,000 weekend. It could have easily been very easy. This was especially true given the poor quality of the fights on the card. We could have easily had ‘Fight of the Night.’ We could have easily had Performance bonuses. There’s so many ways it could have been a $300,000 weekend, like that [snaps fingers].
“I’m super thankful to the UFC, they could have told me, ‘Hey, we’re going to rebook it in six weeks and give you $10,000 for now.’ So I’m super happy, I’m super grateful they’re giving me my show money, but it’s still a bummer.”
But the biggest bummer of all for Lauzon is that there’s no clear path for what comes next. Although he expressed interest in Cerrone’s matchup, he was not clear on when or where. He noted that fresh off a bout of food poisoning, Cerrone might not be looking for a quick turnaround, especially to cut back to lightweight.
Lauzon said he reached out to Cowboy, who told him he will be filming a movie in Thailand from late May to mid-June. That restricts the possible dates the two men could finally get in the cage together, and makes it increasingly more likely for this fight to be moved back substantially.
” I don’t know what I want, so that’s where the hardest part is,” Lauzon stated. In two weeks, there will be a concert at the [UFC APEX]. Although I’m not [want to fight at the APEX], I would like to fight ******. All this hard work has been done. Although I won’t be going to Singapore in the near future, there are shows in Austin and Austin in just two weeks.
“I’ll wait until tonight and then I’ll text Sean Shelby and find out what’s going on. If it’s possible to complete the task in just two weeks, then I am definitely interested. Even in six weeks, I’m sure I’ll be in. It would be hard for me to say no. They might come back, I heard they are coming to Boston in August, September or something similar. It would be great to be on the card and it would certainly be an exciting fight. You know, like, you spent three months on Cowboy and are now going to finish it in four more months. That would be pretty crappy. It would be something I had to think about. I’d love to fight in Boston, but at the same time, I’d have to think about it a little bit more.”
If the worst comes to pass and for some reason Lauzon can’t get rebooked in a timely fashion, the Massachusetts native admits it’s possible that he may not return.
“I think so, but I don’t even know now,” Lauzon said when asked if he will fight again. It was two-and-a-half years that I did not fight, because I was afraid the fight would be cancelled at last minute. Then my greatest fear was realized. This is the whole thing. It’s so overwhelming. I do not know It’s not clear. I don’t know how **** can look like this.
” I’ve been neglecting [my gym] for the past couple of months. My long-term goal is to keep the gym a part of my life and my future career. Am I going go and neglect that for another three months, four months? Am I going to miss seven, eight months over there. I may need to prioritize that a little bit. So I don’t know. There are many questions. Too many questions. It would have been great if the fight [had happened], was held regardless of the outcome. Win or lose, I would have way more information on what’s going on. I just don’t know now.”