It has been nearly 10 days since Yoel Romero finished Luke Rockhold with an uppercut so brutal that we’re still talking about it. We’re also still talking about the kiss he landed on Rockhold’s cheek as well at UFC 221. Originally it was thought that it was nothing more than a sportsmanlike gesture, but Romero had the bible on his mind as he called Rockhold a brother and put his lips on his cheek. He was thinking of Judas, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss after The Last Supper. The Soldier of God flipped the allegory in the Octagon that night when he pecked Luke Rockhold, then told the story of their fall on Monday.
“Before USADA, every time when [Luke Rockhold] saw me […] he’d say, ‘Hey, what’s up, my man? You want to go out with me? I need a party.’ I’d say, okay, come on, let’s go, no problem. When I [was hanging out] with him, he was like a friend. […] When I had this problem with USADA, he and Michael Bisping is the two guys who were talking a lot of [trash] about me. Ok, Bisping is Bisping. I don’t have a relationship with this guy, but with [Rockhold] — You talk like this against me? But God is good. Maybe he was thinking, ‘Ok, this guy is 39-years old. Minimum two years out [with a suspension], he’s 41. Bye, bye Yoel.’ But God is good every time. I’m still here. That’s why the UFC call me and I say, ‘Yes, I want the fight’ and I tried to get down my current weight.”
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 11, 2018
“That’s why I said at the [UFC 221] weigh-in, when he said, ‘I am a professional,’ I said, ‘I am a professional too. I’m still here for you. I’m coming for you. Not for the belt. I stayed here for you, because this is a big opportunity — I can fight you. Everything is because you talked so bad about me. You need to pay. You need to pay.’ That’s it. That’s why I kiss him after the fight. I make a this [kissing sound] because he’s Judas. In this moment, I said, ‘Hey, Luke. I love you, I love you.’ You remember the time when you were staying with me, hanging out, and you said, ‘Do you want to fight me?’ I said, ‘You remember? And you see what happened after USADA? You remember? I’m still here. I love you.’ He no talk nothing because he knows.” — Yoel Romero speaking on The MMA Hour.
According to Yoel Romero, he and Luke Rockhold agreed not to fight each other during one of their bonding sessions. He thought they were friends, but all that changed when Romero dealt with the ordeal of being popped by USADA. Through arbitration, he cleared his name by proving it was a tainted supplement, but the damage was already done. Rockhold turned on Romero and dragged him over the coals after the initial news. However, just as Jesus forgave those who did not know what they did leading up to his crucifixion, Yoel Romero also forgives and still loves Luke Rockhold.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/20/2018.