Joe Lauzon Pulls Out of Donald Cerrone Fight at UFC on ESPN 37 with Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2022

AUSTIN, TEXAS - JUNE 17: Joe Lauzon poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night official weigh-in at the DoubleTree Hotel on June 17, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Saturday's bout between Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon for the UFC Fight Night card was canceled, with Lauzon suffering from a knee injury.

MMA insider Ariel Helwani first reported the news, noting Lauzon pulled out because of a "health issue" after having felt under the weather.

Lauzon later said he was dealing with a knee injury that caused it to lock up.

“So I’m not fighting Cowboy Cerrone tonight,” Lauzon said, via Mike Heck of MMA Fighting. “The freakiest weirdest thing ever: I weigh-in officially, I got sit down, and I got to put my socks on, I turn my knee out, and my knee locks out.

“I’ve dealt with meniscus injuries on both knees, but this knee in particular, had it cleaned out a bunch of times, but when it does lock up, I can usually straighten out, it unlocks, toally fine, 100 percent, immediately. This time, I’m no surrounded by all the fighters, commission, Cowboy’s in the room, I’m trying not to make a scene and let people know there’s not a problem with my knee. Eventually, I end up hopping on one of my cornerman’s back, acted like I was choking him like we were joking, but I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t walk at all.”

Cerrone vs. Lauzon was one of the most heavily anticipated battles on the sizable card.

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The pair were originally slated to face off at UFC 274 on May 7 in Phoenix. However, Cerrone came down with an illness on the day of the event, forcing him to pull out.

Lauzon told reporters Wednesday he "would’ve rather fought and gotten beat up then to not fight at all" because of all the work he had done to prepare:

"It’s the worst. It’s one thing if I didn’t cut weight or do this. I literally flew to the event. I got ready all week long. I did all the media stuff. Nothing would make me happier than sitting in my house, playing Xbox, and hanging out with my kids, eating pizza. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I love to do. Now, it’s like I’m away from my family. I’m doing all this other stuff. Then, I cut weight – which is not fun. I didn’t have a bad weight cut, but it still sucks. I did the weight cut. I weighed in. I did all the media stuff. I did the ceremonial weigh-ins.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot.

Lauzon was absent from Friday's ceremonial weigh-in because of cramping, which raised some alarm bells in terms of his status.

Adam Martin @MMAdamMartin

I thought it was bizarre when Lauzon didn’t do the ceremonial weigh-ins. That isn’t something that happens. Unfortunately it sure feels like this Lauzon vs. Cerrone fight is cursed. That’s two cancellations in the past two months for this matchup. The MMA Gods don’t wanna see it.

The 38-year-old hasn't competed on a UFC show since October 2019. He returned after more than a year out to earn a first-round TKO victory over Jonathan Pearce, which snapped a three-fight losing streak.

Cerrone, meanwhile, is looking to notch his first victory since May 2019. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Alex Morono in his last go-round in May 2021.

Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Lauzon and Cerrone, or the UFC could pivot in a new direction with each fighter in light of the cancellation.