There was a big reason why Bellator opted not go sign Yoel Romero.
Romero was recently released by the UFC in what was one of the most shocking decisions in recent memory. Many observers felt there would be a line of MMA promotions queuing up to sign the longtime middleweight contender.
However, to the surprise of many, Bellator and the PFL were notably not interested in Romero’s services. When it comes to the former, we now know why.
“We got a call from (his) agent, and originally we just passed,” Coker said (via MMA Junkie). “If you look at our roster and how many fighters we have on this roster and how many fights we’re going to do, there are only so many TV slots. We have kind of gotten away from signing the OGs we used to sign back in the day. That’s because guys like A.J. (McKee) are coming up. Ilima-Lei (Macfarlane) is developing into a main event fighter.
“We’ve basically built from the bottom up. We have a lot of great fighters that are on the roster that we’ve built over the last four to five years. We were kind of headed in a different direction. I was happy with the way the roster is right now not adding anybody.”
While it’s true that Bellator has been avoiding signing old UFC veterans in recent times such as Anderson Silva, they did go on to reportedly sign former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson earlier on Wednesday. In fairness, though, he is seven years younger than Romero at 36 years of age.
For now, things currently seem to be on a case-by-case basis as Coker isn’t ruling out a future signing of Romero.
“The dialogue will always be open,” Coker added. “Things change quickly in this sport, so you never know, but the initial thought was that I talked to my guys and they thought it was better for us to pass.”
Do you think Bellator were right to pass on Romero?