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Time to call it a career for ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone?

Donald Cerrone, top, seen here in a 2019 fight, nearly suffered his fifth straight loss on Saturday, but fought to a draw. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

Dana White wants to have “a conversation” with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

He did not elaborate, but, judging from the context, it appears the UFC president will strongly urge the Edgewood resident to retire.

White might even make that decision for him, at least where the UFC is concerned.

That was the fallout from Cerrone’s fight Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada against Niko Price. The fight was scored a draw, but only because Price had a point deducted in the first round for two unintentional eye pokes. Otherwise, Cerrone would have left the Octagon with his fifth straight loss.

“I love Cowboy, and I know this is gonna (expletive) crush him and break his heart,” White said after Saturday’s card. “But it’s time to have a conversation with him.”

On one hand, White’s concern for Cerrone, a cornerstone UFC fighter who has the most wins (23) in the promotional circuit’s history, seems laudable.

On another, given the intrinsic brutal nature of mixed martial arts, Cerrone’s personal investment in it and the billions of dollars White and the UFC have gleaned from it, that concern rings a bit hollow.

Sure, purely from a health standpoint, Cerrone (36-15-1) should retire. He’s 37 years old. He’s been fighting professionally since 2004. He’s been knocked out six times in his last 13 fights. He took a serious pounding from Price in the first round on Saturday before rallying.

For that matter, again strictly from a health standpoint, not fighting would be the best option for Holly Holm, Diego Sanchez, Carlos Condit, et al, or anyone who’s even thinking about a career in combat sports.

People may disagree about the efficacy of masks vs. COVID-19, climate change, or even the alleged curvature of the earth. But it has been established beyond doubt that repeated blows to the head are bad for one’s health.

And yet, taking and delivering such blows is what Cerrone, Holm, Sanchez, Condit, et al, signed up for — and what White signed them up for.

One has to wonder why White didn’t have a “conversation” with UFC heavyweight Andrei Arlovski, Cerrone’s former teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, after Arlovski’s fifth straight loss — three of them by KO — culminating in June 2017. Arlovski was 38 at the time.

Since then, Arlovski, now 41, has fought eight times, winning four. He has another fight scheduled for Nov. 7.

Or maybe there was such a conversation, and Arlovski told White he could have his MMA gloves when he could pry them off his cold, dead hands (or words to that effect).

After Saturday’s fight, Cerrone was inordinately hard on himself. Despite the official result, he said, he considered it consecutive loss No. 5.

“This is the worst performance I’ve ever had, hands down,” he said.

It actually wasn’t his worst, in light of the aforementioned six first-round knockouts. After a scary first round — really just the first minute; Cerrone typically is a slow starter — the flow of the fight was close to even. One official scorecard had Cerrone the winner.

Cerrone said he’d like to take the rest of 2020 off (wouldn’t we all) and give Price a rematch in early 2021.

That option, for White, should be part of any conversation he has with Cerrone.

WEIGHT CUTS: Former Albuquerquean and UFC fighter Nicco Montaño is featured in a segment of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, scheduled to air at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The segment deals with health concerns created by weight cuts in MMA.

The dangers of weight cuts are a built-in problem for MMA, which offers only eight weight classes (five for women) in increments of no fewer than 10 pounds.

All too often, a fighter who believes he or she is at a size disadvantage at a higher weight will dangerously dehydrate in an effort to make a lower weight.

Boxing, in contrast, offers 17 weight divisions in gradients of as little as 3 pounds.

In December 2017, Montaño, who now lives in Las Vegas but lived in Albuquerque at the time, won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight (125 pound title). After rehabbing a broken foot and undergoing tonsil- and adenoid-removal surgery, she was scheduled to defend against Valentina Shevchenko the following September.

Instead, she wound up in a Dallas hospital with barely functioning kidneys due to her weight cut.

Montaño now competes at 135 pounds.

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