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Donald Cerrone says being able to wear custom patch at UFC Ottawa ‘meant more to me than anything’

Blessed with a rebel spirit, Donald Cerrone again appeared to be defying protocol in his most recent fight.

As he went five rounds with Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC Ottawa on Saturday, it became evident that “Cowboy” was wearing something on his shorts that was in violation of the UFC’s typically strict uniform policy. It turned out that Cerrone was actually wearing the same patch that led to him receiving a major fine from officials back in December 2015 when he wore customized gear for a championship fight with Rafael dos Anjos.

A picture of Donald Cerrone’s custom patch from UFC on FOX 17 on Dec. 19, 2015
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cerrone was greatly displeased at the time, calling the fine “ludicrous,” but both he and the UFC were singing a different tune on Saturday. The patch, a small piece of the American flag that was taken from a pair of old Muay Thai shorts, is a dedication to Cerrone’s grandmother (who was in attendance at Canadian Tire Centre to see Cerrone defeat Iaquinta by unanimous decision) and he was not only allowed to wear it this time around, he was actually encouraged to do so by the UFC.

“They did that,” Cerrone said, speaking to the media backstage at UFC Ottawa. “This isn’t me, this isn’t Cowboy being sneaky. They asked me where I wanted it and I said, ‘Right down my f*cking leg, man.’

“They’re like, ‘Really?’

“And I said, ‘Yeah.’

“And they said, ‘Alright.’

“I was like, ‘F*ck yeah, finally. Cool.’ It meant something to me. I was like, yeah, finally the old guy finally gets—hell yeah!”

This was Cerrone’s 31st UFC appearance, keeping him one behind only Jim Miller (32) for the most in company history. However, taking into account his 10 fights with the World Extreme Cagefighting organization, there is no one who has recorded more outings or picked up more wins (29 combined in the UFC/WEC) under the Zuffa banner. Cerrone also added another $50,000 bonus check to his collection as one-half of UFC Ottawa’s Fight of the Night, extending his record for UFC post-fight bonuses to 17,

And the 36-year-old veteran is now 2-0 since deciding to make the tough cut back down to 155 pounds, putting him back on the path to another title shot.

Even with all that, it’s the UFC’s surprising gesture of respect that had the most significant impact on Cerrone’s beaming attitude afterwards.

“To be honest, the winning and setting records, this meant more to me than anything,” Cerrone said. “Having the company that took it from me come back and say, ‘You know, where do you want it? Let’s go.’ They fined me, made a big deal out of it. Tonight, they were like, it’s where you want it, let’s go.”