Barista-turned-UFC-fighter Patrick Cummins: ‘I hate coffee’
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Patrick Cummins saga has yet another twist.
Best known for working as a barista one week before taking a co-main event fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 170, Cummins actually can’t stand coffee. The smell of it turns his stomach.
"I’ll keep running with the coffee thing, even though I hate coffee," Cummins told FOX Sports. "I had this job and I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life."
Talk about irony. It’s going to take a long time for Cummins to shake the label of "the coffee guy" in the UFC. Even now, heading into his second fight with the organization against Roger Narvaez at UFC Fight Night on Saturday here at Tingley Coliseum, he’s still being called a barista-turned-fighter.
Obviously, he’s more than that. Cummins was a big-time Division I wrestler and an undefeated pro MMA fighter coming into his UFC debut. He had trouble finding opponents on the local circuit, so when Rashad Evans injured his knee in February and had to pull out of the bout with Cormier, Cummins took the bout on a week’s notice, losing his coffee shop gig in the process.
I’ll keep running with the coffee thing, even though I hate coffee. I had this job and I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life.
His boss at the coffee shop in Orange County, Calif., would not let him take a call from his manager, Ryan Parsons, who was trying to pass along info about the Cormier fight. So Parsons showed up at the café in his pajamas (it was early in the morning) demanding to speak with Cummins.
"He was like, ‘Hey, hey! I need to get you on the phone,’" Cummins said. "Everybody was like, who is this guy? He was trying to walk into the back of the shop."
The other employees threw Parsons out. That did not deter him. He walked into the drive-through area where Cummins was working and said he had to take a call if he wanted the fight. Cummins said screw it and grabbed the phone. On the other end of the line, to his shock, was UFC president Dana White.
As soon as he picked up, Cummins was fired. And he didn’t care. A week later, he was in Las Vegas fighting Cormier — and losing by TKO in 1:19.
"It’s one of those things you can’t make up," Cummins said of the story.
Narvaez represents a significant step back and Cummins (4-1) is completely OK with that. Cormier just earned a light heavyweight title shot by steamrolling Dan Henderson at UFC 173 on May 24. And Cummins is away from the bright lights of Las Vegas, in Albuquerque competing on the first fight of the night, which will air on UFC Fight Pass.
"It feels more like what I’m used to," Cummins said. "It’s a notch above everything else I’ve done. It’s not that much different. The last fight, it was just bonkers."
He wouldn’t trade in the experience, though. Right afterward, Cummins felt like he got nothing out of losing quickly to Cormier. He knows differently now. Being in a co-main event on pay-per-view and fighting one of the best mixed martial artists in the world was not a bad thing. All respect to Narvaez, but he’s not going to be Daniel Cormier.
Cummins, 33, wants to take things slowly now, win a few fights and then maybe "within a year or two" get a rematch with Cormier or a chance at the belt.
The barista taunts never annoyed him. He actually ended up retweeting many of them on Twitter.
"It never made me mad," Cummins said. "I just laughed at all of them. I thought it was so funny."
He still refuses to drink coffee. Cummins loathes it. The only reason he worked at the café to begin with is because the hours — 3:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. — made it easy to fit in his MMA training.
The Pennsylvania native did end up returning after UFC 170 to smooth things over — and get his last paycheck. There’s a pretty strong chance he’ll never go back again.
"Why am I working in this place that I hate?" Cummins said he used to think to himself. "I hate everything about coffee and I’m working here. What is wrong with me?"