Yoel Romero is the uncrowned champion at 185 pounds in the UFC. “The Soldier of God’ has fought the top end of the division non stop for the last 5 years and faced current champion Robert Whittaker twice coming up short in both battles. Myself and others believe that he won the rematch in June of 2018 but the judges sided with Whittaker even though Yoel damn near killed him.
Unknown to fans, however, Yoel has been fighting another kind of opponent. He popped hot for a banned substance in 2016 for which he was publicly roasted as a cheater by many. Potentially the most notable person who shamed him for this infraction was Michael Bisbing who is known to stand against PED (performance enhancing drugs) in the sport of MMA. Yoel appears to be getting the last laugh in this situation as it was announced that he is being awarded $27 million dollars by Gold Star Performance Products.
It was discovered that the substance Yoel took and was flagged for was a contaminated supplement and not something that he had knowingly ingested. Yoel was awarded 3 million for lost wages, 3 million for reputable harm, and 3 million for emotional damage. That $9M pay day was then multiplied by 3 due to the State of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act leaving Yoel to collect a smooth $27M. I’m sure he looked something like this:
I have been on record as a Romero fan and had a bet placed on him for the fight scheduled against Costa last year that was voided and now we have to re-analyze the fight top to bottom. 185 has never been more exciting. Robert Whittaker has been out injured and because of that young hungry lions Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fought for the interim strap in his absence in what is the front runner for fight of the year in 2019. Though Kelvin lost that fight I think it arguably put more shine on him than it took away because of how hard he pushed Israel and a rematch would be something I hope we get some day.
Behind the interim champ we have Yoel who arguably could be holding the belt right now. Luke Rockhold is still listed as a contender, however, he has jumped up to 205 for the time being, but Jack Hermansson has been making waves killing the old guard in his rapid ascent to the top of 185. Jacare, Weidman, and Brunson are always in the mix and we have Costa and Cannonier who are both rapidly climbing that ladder. I do not think that 185 has ever had this much talent with this many amazing match ups. Costa is looking to jump the line by taking out Romero and he has beef with current interim champion Israel Adesanya making him an obvious storyline choice for a title shot or a fight with Adesanya should he lose to Whittaker.
With Yoel having received the biggest pay day of his life outside of the cage, we have to wonder what kind of motivation he will have to get back in there. He’s not getting any younger and we have seen other long-time legends start to fall such as Silva and Jacare. Romero has been a competitor at a high level his entire life and is still in incredible physical condition, but it’s hard to get yourself up to train when you see $27,000,000 in your bank account. Is the title a dream and a goal he cannot die without obtaining? Or will he feel better sleeping on a bed made out of money? His fight with young and hungry Costa will tell us a lot and while I was intending to bet Yoel again I will have to do some research and question everything before that bet gets placed.