When Yoel Romero and Tim Kennedy stepped into the Octagon to fight at UFC 178, nobody could have known the bout would become one of the most controversial in modern times.
As the second round drew to a close, Kennedy held onto Romero’s glove, and landed some hard shots that left Romero rocked at the end of the round.
When the bell rang for the third round to start, Romero remained on the stool. The referee shouted at his cornermen to remove the stool, and for Romero to get up. Ultimately, Romero received almost 30 extra seconds on the stool to recover.
When the third round started, Romero went out and TKO’d Kennedy.
He spoke to MMAFighting about the situation, and why he believes he should have been given 5-minutes to recover from the near fight-ending blows from Kennedy.
“When an athlete hits the opponent illegally, the opponent that gets hit gets five minutes of a break to recover,”
“Look at the video. He was holding my glove illegally. When I’m against the cage, Tim Kennedy held my glove and when he holds the glove, he got lucky and I escaped before the referee saw it. Then I did it to Kennedy. When I did it to Tim Kennedy, he told the referee, ‘He held my glove.'”
“The people who made the mistake were the cutmen from the UFC. The referee noticed too much Vaseline. The cutman was already leaving and McCarthy called him back to clean off the Vaseline. He noticed the cutman already leaving. When the cutman leaves, who’s supposed to take the Vaseline off my cut? My cornermen and trainer were there, but they’re not qualified to take off the Vaseline from my cut. The one who cleans and puts on Vaseline is only the cutman from the UFC. McCarthy insisted and my trainer said, ‘OK, I’ll take it off.'”
“The people who critique me are the people who don’t know about the sport. They don’t really know about the rules of MMA. They aren’t a real fan or follower of the sport or they’re just people who like to talk.”
“This is nothing personal. If the UFC matchmaker puts me against Tim Kennedy, I will do it. I have no problem with that. I have nothing against nobody in the UFC. This is a sport for me.”
“I’m not mad and I’ve never been mad that people think I’m cheating. To be sincere, I’ve never been mad about what anyone thinks.”
Romero will be fighting Jacare Souza at UFC 184 in February in what many believe to be a title eliminator bout.