Yoel Romero, the Cuban Olympic wrestler who earned a slot in the main event of UFC 221 tonight by being a badass, has screwed us all yet again.
That means that the bout, which was against former champ Luke Rockhold for the interim belt, is no longer a championship bout on Romero’s end. If he wins, he gets a “W”; if Rockhold wins, Rockhold gets the interim belt.
For a while there, after Romero capped off his weight cut with an official weight of 188 pounds (185 is the limit), there wasn’t even a main event fight anymore. But Rockhold agreed to face Romero anyway.
Look, fights are all about violence, but that violence means nothing when the stakes aren’t high. You know what makes a bout have high stakes? A championship belt up for grabs. You know what makes a bout lose those high stakes? When it’s no longer a championship bout for all parties involved.
Our boy Luke sums it all up perfectly in a tweet:
Should have be doing the salsa in the sauna. Some bullshit as usual
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) February 10, 2018
Thankfully, Rockhold agreed to still face Romero, so UFC 221 still has a main event.
Per source close to Rockhold: “it’s on.”
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 10, 2018
So where does this leave us with Romero?
In a bad place. Homeboy is an explosive finisher, as evidenced by him taking out former champ Chris Weidman at UFC 205. We love those kinds of fighters. But here are all the ways that Romero has been shady as hell:
- When he fought Tim Kennedy at UFC 178, he was very nearly finished, but somehow weaseled his way to get extra time to recover via his cornerman not leaving the cage quick enough.
- He loves to fail drug tests.
- Did I mention his problem with drug tests?
Romero failed in his bid to win the interim middleweight title once already, courtesy of Rob Whittaker’s unerring striking and unwavering game plan. But with Whittaker sidelined by injuries, this UFC 221 main event bout was supposed to be important.
Now whatever happens is overshadowed by Yoel Romero letting us down.