Cuban mixed martial artist Yoel Romero has reportedly signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA per ESPN.com. After being released by the UFC earlier this month, it seems that Bellator MMA President Scott Coker has a change of heart. He mentioned that he was straying from signing aging fighters, but was open to suggestions from those interested in fighting for the company. Financial terms have not been officially disclosed as of yet.
Romero, 43 last fought in the UFC on March 7, 2020. He lost a unanimous decision middleweight title fight to Israel Adesanya at UFC 248 in Las Vegas, days before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began. That was his third consecutive defeat after winning nine of his first ten fights in the Octagon. He was also targeted by Combate Americas to pair him up in a fight against UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, but since then, Coker has been making time to develop homegrown talent in both men’s and women’s division while reconsidering his option to sign veteran fighters.
While this is a big sign for the Viacom-owned organization, most question whether or not it was a good idea to choose the Olympic silver medal wrestler over a dominant fellow UFC middleweight in former champion, Anderson Silva. As for Romero, he came to the UFC after Zuffa bought out Strikeforce in 2013, where he finished his Octagon career at 9-4. He scored key victories over Derek Brunson, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, and Chris Weidman.