Yoel Romero explains what led to “completely unexpected” UFC release

Yoel Romero, Israel Adesanya

Former UFC middleweight contender Yoel Romero has opened up on the events that led to his release from the promotion, calling the ordeal “completely unexpected.”

Romero was a member of the UFC roster from 2013 until just a few weeks ago. For the majority of his time with the promotion, he stood at out as one of the top middleweights in the world.

Given his standing amongst the middleweight elite, it came as a major surprise when Romero was cut from the promotion’s roster earlier this month.

Speaking to ESPN after his UFC release, Romero opened up on the events that led to this surprising shakeup.

“First and foremost, it was something that was completely unexpected,” Romero told ESPN in Spanish through his translator (via MMA Junkie). “I was already training very hard, getting ready. We were already thinking of fighting in January or February at 185 [pounds] or 205. We were looking to fight with the top three in either division. My managers explained this to the presidency, the top of the UFC.

“They wanted (me) to fight with Uriah Hall, Derek Brunson, and we explained to them that it didn’t make sense for (me) to fight with these young men,” Romero added. “We had an idea we were chasing, the world title. The way we were training, making it happen, we knew that we had one or two fights and then we would go for the belt. Our thought was that fighting any of these guys that are in the back of the roster, that it was taking steps backward, not forward.

“My managers were back and forth non-stop with the matchmakers and with (UFC president Dana White), and there was no accordance,” Romero continued. “They came back to us with an offer to fight Johnny Walker at 205. At 205, we wanted whomever triumphed between ‘Marreta’ (Santos) or Glover (Teixeira).

“The managers were initially saying we wanted to fight with Dominick Reyes, Glover Teixeira, ‘Marreta,’ or Anthony Smith, and it was kind of like a back and forth, kind of quiet on their end, and once they reached back it was to let (me) know that we couldn’t come to an agreement, and they were going to commit to the release,” Romero concluded.

The UFC’s decision to release Romero came as a shock to fans everywhere. You can only imagine how it felt to the man himself.

“I would have never expected this,” Romero said. “I was training not extra hard, but training with an intensity that I was going to run through my next two fights, get another shot at Izzy (Adesanya), and once I was in there, I was going to take his head off.”

Not long after being released from the UFC, Yoel Romero signed with Bellator MMA. He’s expected to make his debut in early 2021, potentially against fellow former UFC standout Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM