Yoel Romero says UFC release was ‘completely unexpected’

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Former UFC middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero was released by the UFC earlier this month. This came as shocking news for many MMA fans as he had fought for the title early this year in May against Israel Adesanya at UFC 248.

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Israel Adesanya (red gloves) fights Yoel Romero (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Yoel Romero who signed with the promotion in 2013 is one of the best middleweights in the world and has fought for the title multiple times. However, his last four-fights haven’t gone his way as he has lost all four of them.

Yoel Romero discusses his unexpected release

In an interview with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Yoel Romero talked about his release from the promotion.

First and foremost, it was something that was completely unexpected,” Romero told ESPN in Spanish through his translator (via MMA Junkie). “I was already training very hard, getting ready. We were already thinking of fighting in January or February at 185 [pounds] or 205. We were looking to fight with the top three in either division. My managers explained this to the presidency, the top of the UFC.

They wanted (me) to fight with Uriah Hall, Derek Brunson, and we explained to them that it didn’t make sense for (me) to fight with these young men,” Romero added. “We had an idea we were chasing, the world title. The way we were training, making it happen, we knew that we had one or two fights and then we would go for the belt. Our thought was that fighting any of these guys that are in the back of the roster, that it was taking steps backward, not forward.

My managers were back and forth non-stop with the matchmakers and with (UFC president Dana White), and there was no accordance,” Romero continued. “They came back to us with an offer to fight Johnny Walker at 205. At 205, we wanted whoever triumphed between ‘Marreta’ (Santos) or Glover (Teixeira).

The managers were initially saying we wanted to fight with Dominick Reyes, Glover Teixeira, ‘Marreta,’ or Anthony Smith, and it was kind of like a back and forth, kind of quiet on their end, and once they reached back it was to let (me) know that we couldn’t come to an agreement, and they were going to commit to the release,” Romero concluded.

Yoel Romero also stated that he was training hard since his loss to Israel Adesanya and that the release was unexpected.

I would have never expected this,” Romero said. “I was training not extra hard, but training with an intensity that I was going to run through my next two fights, get another shot at Izzy (Adesanya), and once I was in there, I was going to take his head off.”

Romero has since signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA and is poised to make his promotional debut early next year.




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