Everything was going so well…the weigh-ins were going great. Only one fighter on the prelims had an issue with weight and that was only a measly third of a pound – a relatively easy undertaking to shed in two hours. And then Yoel Romero stepped on the scales and suddenly UFC 221 was in jeopardy again. The curse of Perth had returned.
It’s taken years in the making to for UFC 221, Perth to become a reality. But not without its problems. Only a few weeks before the event, reigning Middleweight Champion and Australian, Robert Whittaker, announced that he was medically unable to compete.
The news was a crushing blow for fans that had already purchased their tickets to the historic event, looking forward to watch Whittaker make his first title defence on home soil.
The UFC scrambled to make sure its inaugural event in WA would not go without a main event and one that the fans were keen to see. In stepped Yoel Romero, the man Whittaker beat for the title and one of the scariest Middleweights in the world.
Still, the fight was on short notice but the notoriously in shape fighter, insisted that weight cut would not be an issue. When speaking with Man of Many last week, he told us that he was happy with where he was at.
“Training has been good. I’m very good, my weight is good. I have God on my right hand shoulder so I know that I will be good.”
But it seems these words have come back to haunt him. Earlier today, Romero weighted in 3.3 pounds over the Middleweight title limit of 185. The packed crowd in attendance, who had been so animated previously, were notably silent after the announcement of the weight, and the dreaded words from John Anik that Romero had two hours to shift the remaining weight.
Rockhold, his opponent, was clearly frustrated by the news having some harsh words for the Cuban fighter before issuing an expletive filled, impassioned speech that toted his professionalism – and cast aspersions over Romero’s. For Romero, he could only apologise – and looked clearly anguished. But maybe that is because of the enormity of the battle ahead.
Sadly on his second attempt, Romero was still 2.7 pounds too heavy. It means that should Rockhold win, he can claim the interim middleweight crown but for Romero, his title dreams will have to be put on hold once more.
Let just hope we can get to fight night without any more bad news!