When Yoel Romero was unexpectedly released by the UFC recently, Bellator boss Scott Coker initially indicated that he wasn’t interested in signing him, but now he’s explained why he eventually changed his mind and welcomed ‘The Soldier Of God’ into the promotion.
“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008,” Coker told MMAJunkie. “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.’”
With the contract signed, Coker is now excited to see what Romero can do in 2021, where the rumor is that he’ll fight Anthony Johnson in their next heavyweight grand-prix.
“He’s (such) an amazing talent,” Coker said. “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.”