Scott Coker on Why he Changed Mind About Signing Yoel Romero
Initially, Scott Coker said Bellator wasn't going to make an offer to Yoel Romero, before he signed with the promotion. So what changed?
During the early days of Yoel Romero’s recent, free agency, Bellator President Scott Coker said the promotion wasn’t going to table the powerful wrestler an offer. But, not that long after, it was announced that the former UFC contender had indeed, signed with the Viacom promotion.
So, what led to Coker changing his mind?
Coker explains why he changed gears on signing Romero
A few weeks ago, eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that the UFC had let Romero go. Although the Cuban star had lost three straight, since he was coming off a title fight with middleweight champ, Israel Adesanya, his release caught a lot of people off guard.
UFC President Dana White proceeded to cite Romero’s age (43), recent losses and an inflated UFC roster, as to why the contender was released. Coker, meanwhile, said Bellator wasn’t going to extend an offer to Romero, since the promotion is moving away from signing older fighters.
Well, fast forward to today, and Romero is a member of Bellator’s roster. So, why did Coker change his mind?
While talking to MMA Junkie recently, the Bellator President said this.
“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008,” Coker said. “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.’”
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And while talking about the ridiculously, explosive fighter, Coker said this.
“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.”
Now, sure, some will question if Coker was just trying to be a tough negotiator, when he initially said Bellator wasn’t interested. But, it could certainly be the case that when they started thinking about the matchmaking possibilities they’d have, if Romero agreed to fight at 205, they changed their mind.