Cuba Olympian Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero obtained the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career, but it came with controversy after a post fight interview.
Romero (10-1) defeated veteran and future hall of famer Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (22-7) by knockout in the third round at 1:38. The fight was the main event of the UFC Fight Night 70 held Saturday at a sold-out Seminole Hard Rock And Casino’s Hard Rock Live near Hollywood. Over 5,600 people attended the event. He now moves closer at a shot at the UFC middleweight title currently held by Chris Weidman.
With emotions running high, the Christian and knockout artist Romero gave a post fight interview early Sunday where he mentioned close to marriage equality.
“What happened to you? Wake up, U.S.A. Go for Jesus not for Gay Jesus.”
Never miss a local story.
The comment from RFOmero, who left Cuba in 2007, comes on the heels of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling same-sex marriage a right nationwide.
He later clarified his statement in a news conference.
“I want to ask for an apology to those who I offended. I am a man of God. God is love. For that my expressions will be with love. What I said in the octagon was about the American dream. There was a misunderstanding about gay marriage.”
The comment blew up on social media.
Meanwhile, the fight started off with both men feeling each other inside the octagon with Machida landing a kick early on in the first round and trading blows.
At the end of the second round, Romero, 38, attempted a flying knee in the clinch, but to no success.
The action picked up in the third round when both men were throwing down, but Romero took it back to his bread and butter of wrestling. He took down Machida and landed with a series vicious elbows leaving the referee with no option but to call an end to the action.
He said he waited patiently on his prey to attack with the takedown.
“Lyoto is a magnificent fighter,” he said. “I had to wait for the right time.”
The former light heavyweight Brazilian was in bad condition, so much so that he didn’t stand beside Romero during the reading of the result.
Machida didn’t attend the news conference either after the fight as he was taken to the hospital.
Romero said he is ready for whatever is offered.
“I am a fighter of the best promotion in the world, the UFC, so whoever they give me I’ll take.”
The fight was given a fight bonus.
During the fight, the crowd had a mix reaction with chants coming both in Portuguese and in Spanish.
The Cuban Olympian is now 6-0 in the octagon.
On the other hand, it was victorious night for a local team. American Top Team, with headquarters in Coconut Creek, had several fighters featured in the fight card. All of their fighters minus Steve Montgomery and Argentinian Santiago Ponzinibbio were victorious.
In the co-main event Lorenz Larkin defeated the Ponzinibbio by technical knockout in the second round at 3:07. The fight was awarded fight of the night.
Flash-forward to the last round, both men traded punches. At one point it looked like Ponzinibbio heavily connected against Larkin. But that didn’t last long till Larkin returned the favor with a couple of shots to the chin that brought his foe to the ground and that was the end of the bout.
In a spectacular moment of the night, American Top Team’s Thiago “Marreta” Santos knocked out Steve Bosse with a vicious head kick in only 29 seconds of the first round. The sound of the kick was so loud it rumbled the venue.
“I worked really hard and trained hard. I spent a lot of time away from my family. I’m very happy with this win. I saw that he dropped his guard and knew he was going to do it again, so I kicked him in the head and it worked,” Santos said.
Hacran Dias defeated Levan Makashvilli by unanimous decision
Alex Oliveira defeated Joe Merritt by unanimous decision
Leandro Silva defeated Lewis Gonzalez by unanimous decision.
Tony Sims defeated Steve Montgomery by TKO in the first round.
Sirwan Kakai defeated Danny Martinez by unanimous decision.
Antonio Carlos Junior defeated Eddie Gordon by submission in Round 3 at 4:37.