Yoel Romero got off lightly for his failed drug test earlier this year. The No. 4 ranked middleweight contender narrowly beat Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC 194 but failed an out-of-competition test conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
‘Soldier of God’ was originally looking at a two-year suspension, but the Cuban disputed the test results and said he used a tainted supplement. Romero’s ban was reduced to six months and the Olympic silver medalist will return to the Octagon against Chris Weidman at UFC 205.
The bout could determine the next No. 1 middleweight contender and the winner will likely face champion Michael Bisping next year.
Bisping, who has been an outspoken critic of PED use, is glad the sport is being cleaned up but doesn’t by Romero’s excuse.
"Once you have PEDs in your system, any time you put the PEDs in your system, I think you should be suspended forever," Bisping said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, per Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting. "And now you have this whole thing where, tainted supplements, I'm not sold on it. I feel like every time someone failed a drug test the first thing they go to was ‘oh, I was taking this and it was tainted,' I mean, it doesn't take too much time to be like, I failed for testosterone or whatever it is, let me find a supplement inside GNC that people might feel is not a big deal to take and they might be a little more lenient on me."
‘The Count’ defended his title for the first time at UFC 204 in his backyard of Manchester, England, beating the legendary Dan Henderson via unanimous decision in a thrilling main event.
Weidman, who lost the 185-pound belt to Luke Rockhold last year, echoed Bisping’s sentiments and believes Romero tested positive for steroids.
"It's personal because the guy, he's a gifted athlete, he just failed for steroids, and this is the biggest fight of my life," Weidman said. "I don't like when people take steroids and cheat, especially when they walk into a cage, it pisses me off. And then when you have all these excuses and people start feeling bad for you, it pisses me off. Either way I still go crazy, these guys are taking steroids, I was in this sport pre-USADA and I was used to the idea all these guys were taking steroids and now they're getting caught for it. At the end of the day I was fighting guys on steroids even before this and now they're getting caught for it."
Weidman vs. Romero will feature on the main card of UFC 205, the blockbuster New York pay-per-view set to host the most stacked card in UFC history. The event is headlined by Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor and will take place on Nov 12. at Madison Square Garden.