Over the weekend, the UFC debuted in Perth, Western Australia with UFC 221. In the main event of this card, a fearsome Yoel Romero took out former champion Luke Rockhold with a brutal barrage of third-round punches.
Shortly after the referee waved off the fight, Romero cornered Rockhold for a brief post-fight embrace – and a quick peck on the cheek that was promptly immortalized as an MMA meme.
In the UFC 221 edition of The Thrill and The Agony, a series that goes behind the scenes of every big UFC fight card, we can hear what Romero said in this embrace with Rockhold.
“And don’t forget, I love you,” Romero can be heard telling his vanquished foe in the video, which can be viewed above. “I love you, brother.”
Needless to say, Romero’s intention was clearly a nice, sportsmanlike moment. Unfortunately. not everybody viewed Romero’s efforts as such.
Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, for example, feels Romero would have been wise to hold off on this moment.
“I don’t take pleasure from seeing somebody knocked out like that, I really don’t,” Bisping said (h/t MMANytt). “He got knocked out and he just looked so devastated, absolutely crushed. Then, to make matters worse, Romero, the guy that just knocked him out, gets in his face, pins him up against the fence, has his arms over his shoulders like that so Rockhold literally can’t go anywhere and he’s professing his undying love for him ‘I love you Luke, I love you.’ I don’t know what he was saying and he had his eyes shut and everything.”
“I mean look at Rockhold there, he looks like he’s f**king terrified, he really does. Romero has his eyes shut and he’s giving him a kiss. Look at Romero there, he really looks like he’s making love.”
“I know when I’ve been knocked out you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. You haven’t got a jar of f**king clues where your head is at and you have to piece it back together, and then all of a sudden you have the guy who has just knocked you out with his arms around you, up against the Octagon sexually assaulting you.”
What did you think of Yoel Romero’s post-fight exchange with Luke Rockhold?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/15/2018.