Scott Coker explains why Bellator isn’t interested in Yoel Romero

Scott Coker, Bellator, ONE Championship, Jon Jones

Bellator president Scott Coker explained why Bellator isn’t interested in signing free-agent middleweight fighter Yoel Romero to a contract.

The UFC cut Romero last week as part of its 60 roster cuts by the end of 2020. The move to release Romero came as a big surprise considering he had just fought Israel Adesanya in his last fight at UFC 248 for the middleweight belt. But with the UFC in roster-cutting mode, the 43-year-old Romero and his three straight losses were deemed expendable. UFC president Dana White said that the cuts are purely roster-space motivated and have nothing to do with cost-cutting measures due to COVID-19.

Once Romero became a free agent, fans and media immediately began speculating about a potential landing spot for the Cuban. The obvious first choice outside the UFC for fighters in North America is Bellator, so naturally, it seemed like a perfect match between the two sides. However, Bellator is not interested in signing Romero. Speaking to MMAjunkie.com, Coker explained why his promotion is passing on him.

“We got a call from his agent (Malki Kawa), and originally we just passed. If you look at our roster and how many fighters we have on this roster and how many fights we’re going to do, there are only so many TV slots. We have kind of gotten away from signing the OGs we used to sign back in the day. That’s because guys like A.J. (McKee) are coming up. Ilima-Lei (Macfarlane) is developing into a main event fighter,” Coker said.

“We’ve basically built from the bottom up. We have a lot of great fighters that are on the roster that we’ve built over the last four to five years. We were kind of headed in a different direction. I was happy with the way the roster is right now not adding anybody.”

Although Coker said that Bellator is passing on Romero right now, he did make sure to mention that things could potentially change in the future. At this point, Romero could be considering other options besides MMA, with BKFC being one of the potential landing spots for Romero should he want to try his hand at bare-knuckle boxing. Despite his wrestling background, Romero is a very capable boxer, as well, making him an intriguing addition to the BKFC roster. For now, Romero remains a free agent.

Do you think Scott Coker and Bellator are making a mistake passing on Yoel Romero?

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