UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was supposed to compete for his first official title defense against Yoel Romero in the main event of tomorrow’s (Sat., June 9, 2018) UFC 225 from Chicago, Illinois.
However, that all went up in smoke, at least in terms of title fight legitimacy, when “The Solider of God” missed weight in a harrowing, concerning scene at today’s early weigh-ins. The hulking 41-year-old initially missed weight by one full pound on his first try but was given two hours to cut the last weight by the Illinois athletic commission.
That was cut short by one hour according to Romero, who ultimately missed weight by 0.2 of a pound and will be unable to win a UFC title in his second straight main event fight. It’s all put an extremely bright spotlight on the UFC’s weight-cutting epidemic – and it is an epidemic – with a high-profile fight being clouded by a weight miss seemingly every event.
But the champion won’t let external factors break his focus.
Speaking to Joe Rogan at this evening’s UFC 225 ceremonial weigh-in, “The Reaper” said his excellent team and staff would be handling the negotiations for accepting the fight after Romero missed, and he would simply refuel his body and prepare to do his job in the cage tomorrow:
“I’m leaving that with all my team, I have a great team, I have a great staff, and they’re going to worry about all that. My job is here is done, so I’m still doing my job, I’m refueling, getting ready for a fight.”
Those words make it seem like the bout is a certainty to take place, although it remains uncertain what terms the champion’s camp is looking for as compensation for Romero’s miss.
True, it was only 0.2 of a pound, but it seems like there just can’t be a Yoel Romero fight without some sort of controversy or craziness dating back to his infamous soiled shorts versus Derek Brunson and on to his controversial “Stoolgate” vs. Tim Kennedy, his failed USADA drug test that was eventually overturned, and now his two misses on the scale.
“The Soldier of God” has controversy follow him wherever he goes, and perhaps that’s part of his allure. It’s also what’s preventing him from being able to win the title in his last two scheduled championship bouts.
As unprofessional as it may seem, however, the calm and collected Whittaker won’t let it get to him in the slightest.