Everyone knows about the signing of Yoel Romero that Bellator MMA surprised the world about. It was Bellator MMA President Scott Coker that had a change of heart about the 43-year old Cuban standout. Sitting down with MMAJunkie.com and Mike Bohn gave everyone an in-depth look at Coker’s mindset when discussing the decision to give Romero a chance to fight again.
“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008,” Coker recently told MMA Junkie. “Part of me wanted to do it. Part of me didn’t want to do it. After we signed ‘Rumble’ (Johnson), we had the chance to (sign) Yoel. We passed on (him). I’ll tell you, honestly, the amount of support he got coming through our doors and through the social channels really was impressive. Everybody wanted to see the Yoel Romero vs. ‘Rumble’ Johnson fight. I huddled up with my team.
I’ll tell you one thing in this situation people don’t really realize: Even if we said we were going to pass, we talk to these agents all the time – every day. Yoel’s name kept coming up and coming up. Finally, I just said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s just add him into the mix.’”
Coker was always impressed with his attitude and demeanor, adding that to what he brings to the table in the cage, it eventually turned into a surefire decision to sign him. Romero (13-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) had a 9-4 record in the UFC with notable wins over Lyoto Machida, Tim Kennedy, Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold. His last three fights resulted in losses to Robert Whittaker for a second time, Paulo Costa and UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, all by decision. In his lone Strikeforce match against Rafael Cavalcante, he suffered a second round TKO loss all the way back in September 2011.
Now that Romero is in Bellator, their brass is looking to place him in the light-heavyweight division, where he has great prospects of facing Machida for a second time. Fight fans can also see possible fights with him and Corey Anderson, Phil Davis, Ryan Bader. Whoever he’s paired up with, he can give the 205-lb weight class a big boost.