Yesterday, Ariel Helwani announced that the UFC and Yoel Romero have parted ways. This was out of the blue and left fans speculating to why the sudden part and where Romero will end up. But today, I want to speculate more on the why instead of the where. Yoel Romero is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC. But after his fourth shot at the title, Romero and the UFC are parting ways.
The Ultimate Compliment
Romero is 43 years old. He’s the author of some of the best moments while fighting and talking. Fans love the memes that come from Romero like “I luh you” and “Ditty boxin'” Plain and simple, he’s a national treasure. So why the sudden split? Simply put, he’s too good.
This idea was spawned by fellow My MMA News writer, Anthony Walker. Check out the tweet.
The Contender Series has signed nearly every winner this past season while more expensive, long term, and high ranked contenders are being released pic.twitter.com/7RcypqfU0H
— Anthony Walker (@AntWalkerMMA) December 5, 2020
Anthony is on to something here and he got the wheels turning in my head, making the UFC’s motivations dawn on me. We’ve seen the promotion part ways with established, quality fighters that are among the best in the world. Think Jussier Formiga, Demetrious Johnson, and Liz Carmouche. All these fighters are among the best in the world, in addition to Yoel Romero, and the UFC decided to cut them loose. What gives? I believe there isn’t one real answer so I’ll dive in to a couple potential reasons.
COVID and money
As alluded to in Anthony’s tweet, the UFC is getting more money conscious in the COVID era. With no live gates but keeping his fighters active, Dana White and the UFC brass is taking a huge hit on money brought in for revenue. The way the UFC pay plan is set up is the more you fight, the more you get paid. In his last fight, Yoel Romero was paid $350,000 to lose to Israel Adesanya. That is a steep price to pay just to have Yoel Romero fight. The UFC needs to cut costs to please investors, which sadly enough, is a thing. But, why are they choosing some of the best fighters and not cut fighters that are past their days like Diego Sanchez or Carlos Condit?
Yoel Romero Keeping the Gate
It’s Yoel Romero’s dominance but inability to win the belt that is possibly behind the parting of ways to the promotion he called home for 13 fights. We’ve seen it with Aldo, but he wasn’t cut, the heavyweights, and the women’s flyweight division. Johnson was going to be the same case as well and the UFC offloaded them.
There is no incentive in Romero-Adesanya 2 and to put it plain and simple, nobody is really beating Yoel Romero. His loss to Paulo Costa was questionable and the other contenders really don’t seem to have the grit to beat Romero. But Romero isn’t the only case, either. Mighty Mouse cleaned out his division before Henry Cejudo took the belt by the skin of his teeth. Sure you can run it back with Cejudo but what do you do after that?
Women’s flyweight is the same issue. Liz Carmouche was absolutely told that she was being released by the UFC because the promotion planned on moving on from the better fighters on to younger fighters. How many times do you really want to see Shevchenko and Carmouche fight anyway? Carmouche guards the gate too well, like Romero.
I feel as if there are a few other fighters we are going to see let go by the UFC in the next year or two. Jose Aldo, Max Holloway, Junior Dos Santos, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk are all at risk in the future of being released due to their high bill and ability to beat everyone but the champion. The bill combined with the hostage-holding of the top of the division will be their undoing.
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.