Yoel Romero had no shortage of options following his unexpected release from the UFC, and one of those was apparently boxing Jake Paul.
Romero appeared on a recent edition of The MMA Hour and revealed to Ariel Helwani that him and his manager were approached by the Paul team for a boxing match. This was shortly after Paul added yet another win to his professional record with a second-round knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson. Romero expressed interest in the boxing match against Paul, but once he did, something changed.
“What happened was, initially Jake Paul wanted to do a fight with Yoel, but then when Yoel wanted to do it, he canceled the fight,” said Romero via his translator. “The Paul team canceled the fight. Initially they wanted to do the fight with Yoel, but that’s when he was just getting out of the UFC. He had not signed with Bellator yet and they said eventually no, they did not want Yoel.
“They spoke with [Malki] Kawa and Yoel first. That was the first option, but they decided to go with Ben Askren, who was an easier target.”
Romero moved on and signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator. The ’Solider of God’ was expected to make his promotional debut against Anthony Johnson earlier this year, but was not medically cleared to compete due to an eye injury suffered in training. Paul went on to box Askren, who he knocked out in less than two minutes.
When asked if he was disappointed in missing out on boxing Paul, Romero said he was not because he believed the controversial YouTuber turned professional boxer was never truly interested in fighting a real fighter like him.
“They don’t want to face a real fighter. [The Paul brothers] are just trying to make it a show and they don’t want to ruin their show. They’re finding the easy fights. Even though [Logan] went against Mayweather, the thing is, there is a huge weight difference. And the other one fought Tyron Woodley, which he also has a lot of weight over Tyron Woodley.”
Romero said he would like to box in the future, but is focused on what fight is ahead of him now. He meets Phil Davis at Bellator 266, which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 18 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.