Bellator boss Scott Coker has explained why he decided to sign former UFC middleweight title challenger after initially ruling out signing the Cuban free agent.

Romero was shockingly let go from the UFC despite competing for the promotions 185lb title earlier this year. The 43-year-old is on a three-fight losing streak but all of those losses where close and competitive fights against top level opposition in Israel Adesanya, Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker.

At the beginning of December Coker insisted he was happy with his current roster after news broke of Romero’s UFC release. Just a few days later Romero was a Bellator fighter.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, Coker explained why he changed his mind about signing Romero, he said.

“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008 Part of me wanted to do it. Part of me didn’t want to do it. After we signed ‘Rumble’ (Johnson), we had the chance to (sign) Yoel. We passed on (him). I’ll tell you, honestly, the amount of support he got coming through our doors and through the social channels really was impressive. Everybody wanted to see the Yoel Romero vs. ‘Rumble’ Johnson fight. I huddled up with my team.

“I’ll tell you one thing in this situation people don’t really realize: Even if we said we were going to pass, we talk to these agents all the time – every day. Yoel’s name kept coming up and coming up. Finally, I just said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s just add him into the mix.’”

“He’s (such) an amazing talent,” Coker added. “He still is somebody that is very dangerous. He definitely can still fight. I said, ‘Let’s put him in the mix, and let’s just go for it.’ I’m glad we did. I had a little chat with him. It was great. He seems like such a nice guy and very mature. I’m looking forward to putting him into our 205-pound mix sometime next year.”

Do you think Scott Coker made the right call by signing Yoel Romero to Bellator?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.