Thursday will mark one of the most historic days in Scotland’s history as the country votes on a referendum for independence away from the United Kingdom. Around 4 million citizens are eligible to vote a simple "yes" or "no" on whether Scotland will become its own nation.
After six weeks spent on "The Ultimate Fighter," Scottish competitor Joanne Calderwood has heard a ton about the activity going on in her home country — although she’s barely been back to Scotland since leaving the show.
The No. 2 seed overall doesn’t want to start her UFC career by weighing in on political issues and potentially alienating half of her fan base at home.
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Unfortunately, because of filming restrictions, Calderwood won’t even get to make a private decision on the referendum. She was in Las Vegas doing "The Ultimate Fighter" and was unable to register to vote.
"I was going to not have an opinion so that everyone (who) votes yes and that votes no will come to my fight when the UFC comes to Scotland, so I don’t want to piss anyone off," Calderwood said when speaking to FOX Sports.
I was going to not have an opinion so that everyone votes yes and that votes no will come to my fight when the UFC comes to Scotland so I don’t want to piss anyone off
— Joanne Calderwood
"It turns out that I was too late to register, so I’m not actually going to get to vote because I was away and I couldn’t register and the vote’s on Thursday. So I can’t put my vote in, and I’m not going to mention what my vote would be."
Whether Calderwood agrees or disagrees with the decision to make Scotland an independent nation, she can’t deny how huge this is for her homeland. For the better part of three centuries, Scotland has been a part of the United Kingdom’s political and economic union, and this vote is a monumental occasion.
"You’ve seen ‘Braveheart’ and stuff and freedom; this is our opportunity to be independent," Calderwood said. "I can see everyone’s point of view from that, but I can also see the people that are kind of disagreeing and don’t want to change and want to stay. That kind of point of view, they’ve not given us answers to important questions. I’m just glad I don’t have to vote.
"I would still be deciding. So many people tell me this and then I’m reading this, it’s like a total head f**k."
Around the time of the vote, Calderwood will finally get to go home to Scotland to see her friends, family and teammates, which is personally what she’s most excited about this week. Even if she’s not voting, however, Calderwood sees this as a landmark moment for her home country, and she realizes something this big may never happen again in her lifetime.
"I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome," Calderwood said. "Obviously, it’s very important and it’s not going to come around very often."