While Tim Kennedy is still steaming mad about what went down at UFC 178, and has accused Yoel Romero of “cheating”, the fighter’s coach has come to the middleweight’s defence. Surprised?
Romero stopped Kennedy in the third round of their “Fight of the Night” scrap on Saturday, but after he was given extra time between rounds two and three. The reason that’s a really big deal in this case, is because the decorated wrestler appeared to seriously rocked by Kennedy as round two came to a close. Then, the fighter received additional time to recover as extra vaseline was removed from his face, and because his corner left the stool in the cage (which is an oldie but a goodie…).
Well, Romero’s renowned coach, Ricardo Liborio appeared on the latest edition of “The MMA Hour” on Monday, and presented their side of the case. Here is some of what American Top Team leader had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“I talked to Big John (McCarthy) after the fight,” Liborio said. “Big John said he went there and saw that there was too much vaseline on the cut. Big John asked Paulino (Hernandez–Romero’s boxing coach) to go there and clean it up, but Paulino doesn’t speak English, he didn’t understand what was going on, so he started to wipe his body. Yoel was sitting there, waiting for someone to clean him.
“I didn’t see anything going on there. I first heard about it when Joe Rogan asked him about it, and my Spanish isn’t that good either [laughs]. I don’t know how long did it take for the fight to restart, but Yoel wasn’t out and he never asked to stop the fight. The whole situation was a mess. Paulino never intended to win some time, and that’s not my style. I would never do something like that.”
Of course, Kennedy’s boosters would immediately argue that while Romero may not have been “out”, he was certainly up a raging creek without a paddle as round two ended. Having that extra time, regardless of whether it was deliberately set up or not, had to have helped the rising middleweight.
Now it remains to be seen what happens next, as although Kennedy’s camp could appeal, fight’s don’t usually get overturned for in cases like this. Liborio was asked about the possibility of a rematch, and while the coach said Romero would “take it”, he also noted that the 37 year-old is gunning for a title shot and doesn’t have a lot of “time” because of his age. Liborio went on to add that they’re hoping to see the “Soldier of God” throw down with a top five ranked opponent next.
If you missed it, following Saturday’s win Romero has jumped up four ranking spots and is now sitting at #6. Kennedy, on the other hand, fell one spot and is #7. Romero (9-1) has won five straight now since joining the UFC.
The only middleweight in the UFC’s top five who isn’t currently booked for a bout is “Jacare” Souza. who is currently sitting at #2 and could be tapped for a title shot next.
UFC 178 went down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.