Bellator president Scott Coker says that social media support made him sign former UFC star Yoel Romero to a contract with his organization.
Coker and Bellator initially passed on signing Romero after the UFC released him earlier this month. Citing a younger roster as the reason for not bringing in Romero into his promotion, Coker said that Bellator wasn’t interested in signing him. However, after Bellator signed former UFC light heavyweight title contender Anthony Johnson a few days later, Coker did an about-face and signed Romero to a contract.
Speaking to MMAjunkie.com, Coker explained why he changed his mind and signed Romero after all. According to the Bellator president, his relationship with Romero dating back to their days in Strikeforce was one reason, as was the strong support to sign Romero from fans, media, and fellow fighters all over social media channels.
“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008. 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,” Coker said. “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.’”
With Romero now in Bellator and expected to compete at 205lbs, he adds another elite fighter to the promotion as it heads into 2021. With a number of high-level light heavyweights already on the Bellator roster, Romero’s addition makes the possibility of a 205lbs tournament even more likely as the organization looks for a big 2021.
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