Prominent JacksonWink fighter Michelle Waterson isn’t going to pick sides in the Donald Cerrone Mike-Winkeljohn beef.

JacksonWink MMA, one of the most respected gyms in the sport, came under fire last month when “Cowboy” Cerrone criticized longtime striking coach Winkeljohn on the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show podcast.

Many former training partners of Cerrone, including Diego Sanchez, fired back at “Cowboy”. Stating that Cerrone isn’t considered a teammate any longer. Others like Waterson had a more neutral position:

“All I can say is that’s family, you know?” Waterson said Monday at a media day promoting her upcoming UFC 229 main-card bout against Felice Herrig. “Families get into fights sometimes and unfortunately this fight got aired out a little bit to the public.”

“I love and respect both Donald and Coach Wink immensely,” Waterson said. “I wouldn’t have been at Jackson’s without Donald, he’s the one who introduced me to Coach Jackson and Coach Wink and I wouldn’t be here if not for Coach Wink. I’ve been with him for almost over a decade, he’s a father figure to me. Both of them are very headstrong, and they are very like-minded, and I’m sure that they will figure out their issues.”

Change For The Better?

Waterson is obviously in a difficult position. However, she appears to be handling the added chaos quite well.

READ MORE:  Khamzat Chimaev pokes at UFC kingpin Israel Adesanya: 'Everybody knows he's going to lose the title to me'

As for Cerrone, he has been training at his ranch just outside the Albuquerque city limits in preparation for his fight with Mike Perry.

Waterson will admit there has been change at JacksonWink MMA. But the “The Karate Hottie” believes it’s all for the better.

“Evolution is inevitable, change is inevitable, if there is no change, you don’t grow,” Waterson said. “So yes, I do think it has changed. But I don’t think it has changed for the worse, I think it has changed for the good. We have new blood and we have great camaraderie and it’s still a family to me. I go there when I’m feeling down and when I need to get away from all the outside noise, the gym is my home. It’s my sanctuary.”

Cerrone will take on Perry in the co-main event of November’s UFC Denver. Whether or not he repairs his damaged relationship with JacksonWink MMA remains to be seen.

READ MORE:  Dana White issues interim UFC title threat to Aljamain Sterling: 'If you're not healthy, don't take the fight'
Mike Straus @AKAstraus21 is a credentialed MMA journalist and a member of the MMAJA. He has been a fan of the sport since its inception and has been covering the sport professionally for three years. In the past, he has produced content for Fansided's Cagepages,, and He currently contributes for, he is a staff writer for, and He most recently began writing for