Cerrone hires sports psychologist after near-death experience

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mixed martial arts is one of the most physical demanding sports for an athlete. It requires being skilled in all aspects of the sport: wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing, muay-thai, and requires cardiovascular and musclar conditioning while utilizing each skill. It also requires a certain toughness and although not discussed, a mental toughness and readiness to compete against the pressure of winning. Donald Cerrone

“It’s like, I don’t know if it’s the camera or the pressure, but I’ve got to figure that out,” Cerrone admits. “Whatever makes me fight hard to get there, and then I seem to, like, fold under pressure. I don’t know. I’m tryin’ to [figure it out]. I got a new sports psychologist tryin’ to work those kinks out.”

It sounds cliché, but Cerrone feels like a new man now. With the help of his sports psychologist, Cerrone came to realize that he needed to fight his own fight, “for once.” Go out and dominate the cage, show everyone why he’s a striker to be feared. Believe in his jiu-jitsu, stop falling into opponent’s gameplans, and most of all, stop burying deep into his own head.

Cerrone quit eating candy, too. At first glance, that may not seem like such a big deal. But when you realize he basically lived on the stuff for years — “I’d rather trade real food for candy, as s–ty as that sounds,” Cerrone chuckles — it starts adding up to ‘big deal’ range. The new diet, which consists of actual, healthy food, has already worked wonders.

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‘Cowboy’ Donald Cerrone has always been an extreme athlete, whether fighting in the cage, riding ATVs, wake boarding, or rock climbing. It was a recent event when rock climbing that led Cerrone thinking more about his career and the decision to bring in the sports psychologist to help him:

“I was showing them how to set gear,” Cerrone recollects. “I should’ve set way more gear, but it was just such an easy climb. I wasn’t concerned. Just being overconfident, man…” His words trail off.

Cerrone plummeted backwards 40 feet to the ground that day. The climbing gear was supposed to catch him if he fell, though I guess “supposed to” is the key phrase in that sentence. In demonstrating that fact to Winklejohn, Cerrone ripped out “like four anchors,” and thus began his descent back to earth.

Each anchor caught Cerrone a little bit, but not really.

“I fractured my hip and my foot, but, I mean…” Cerrone says, the words again trailing off as if to say, ‘it could’ve been much worse.’