Former UFC challenger Yoel Romero has spoken out about an unexpected breakup with the world’s leading MMA promotion. The Cuban veteran spent more than seven years as a member of the UFC roster. He joined the famous American promotion back in 2013 and recorded nine wins and four defeats in the Octagon.
In recent years, he was one of the best fighters in the middle category, and twice he had an arranged match for the temporary, but also the 'real' belt. He lost three times in the biggest fights of his career, and the one time he defeated Luke Rockhold, did not reach the temporary title because the day before the match at the weigh-in, he exceeded the allowed limit.
“First of all, it was something completely unexpected,” Romero told ESPN, explaining the UFC’s decision. "I was already in strong training and preparing. We were already thinking about fighting in January or February.
The options were both medium and light heavy. We were looking towards fights with TOP 3 fighters in those categories. That's what my managers explained to the UFC. ", Romero began his story and continued:
UFC wanted him to fight Hall and Brunson
"They wanted me to fight Uriah Hall or Derek Brunson, but we belatedly told them it didn't make sense to me.
It didn't make sense to fight those young men. We had an idea we were chasing - a world title. And given how we are trained and worked, we knew that one or two fights divided us until the belt attack. Our opinion was that the fights with the characters from the back of the UFC rankings were a step backward, not forward.
" It was that part of the conversation that focused on options in midfield, but Romero and his team obviously failed to convince the UFC, so they turned to the light heavyweight division in the negotiations. But no agreement was reached there either ...
"My managers and the UFC struggled and couldn't come to terms. At one point, they came to us with an offer for Johnny Walker, but in that category, we wanted a winner from the fight between 'Marreta' (Thiago Santos) and Glover (Teixeira).
"My managers initially said we wanted Dominic Reyes, Teixeira, Marret or Anthony Smith, and that's how the discussion went on ... Then they suddenly contacted me to tell me that no deal had been reached and that they would fire me."
"I didn't expect it. I trained with such intensity that I would rush through the next two opponents, get a rematch with Israel Adesanya, and then cut off his head, "said Romero, who continues his career as a Bellator welterweight at the age of 43.