Just a couple of days ago, we found out Yoel Romero was released by the UFC. Immediately afterwards, fans were wondering if Bellator would be the place that Romero would call home after his shocking release.
The news really came out of no where. Yoel Romero last fought in February for the UFC middleweight title. Romero was ranked fifth in the promotion’s rankings and he was scheduled to fight in August before he had to pull out.
The UFC is making financial cuts and Romero was an asset they could live without. Bellator is arguably the second biggest MMA promotion in the world. Romero is still a top guy so it would make logical sense for Romero to end up with a promotion like Bellator.
However, today we learned some interesting news. Sources told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that Bellator was not interested in signing the former four-time UFC middleweight title challenger. Bellator seems comfortable not going after Romero.
This made me scratch my head a little bit. I understand that Bellator doesn’t want to be considered as the place for UFC rejects, but Yoel Romero is still one of the best fighters in the world. He would have been a great fit with Bellator.
Let me preface this section by saying that of course things could change. Maybe Bellator has a change of heart and they decide to go after The Soldier of God. However, let’s say for the sake of argument that they hold firm and pass.
Is it a mistake for Bellator to pass on Yoel Romero. Yes, it’s a massive mistake for them to pass on Romero. They are thinking of this all wrong. I hate to break it to Scott Coker, but Bellator will never be the UFC. They just won’t ever reach that level.
That being said, Bellator is now becoming a promotion that will shun fighters if they are cut from the UFC. The reason is because they don’t want to risk a guy like Romero coming in and winning the middleweight championship after failing to win in the UFC.
They could then see the MMA world going, “You see, Bellator’s best are just the UFC’s rejects.” However, Yoel Romero shouldn’t be considered anyone’s reject. Yes, he was released by the UFC, but he’s still one of the very best in the world.
If Bellator were to sign Romero, they could build a huge event around Romero fighting Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title. I think by passing on Romero they are focusing too much on their reputation and not enough on fight making. A mistake in my opinion.