Yoel Romero sees gold on the horizon.
Appearing on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, Romero chatted with host Ariel Helwani, revealing that he's been promised a title shot with a victory over Ronaldo Souza at Dec. 12's UFC 194 event.
When he was asked if the UFC confirmed that he'll receive this opportunity, Romero answered clearly and succinctly.
"Yes [I have been promised the shot]," Romero said through his translator.
With six straight victories since coming to the UFC in April 2013, Romero's resume — especially with a win over "Jacare" — will certainly merit a try at the middleweight strap.
But despite Romero's significant accomplishments inside the cage, it was his words — not his fists — that many fans and critics couldn't stop talking about following his most recent victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 70. After winning the fight via third-round knockout, Romero took the microphone for his post-fight interview.
A strong, confusing message followed.
So what did Romero say? And perhaps more importantly, what did he mean? Speaking to Helwani, the middleweight contender clarified.
"[I said] 'No forget — forget — Jesus,'" Romero said.
His translator then expanded.
"[Romero] feels like it’s not only the United States. The world has forgotten about god, about Jesus," he said.
Interjecting, Romero said the world has steadily become more selfish and self-serving, always needing something in return for anything. The "gift of giving" usually comes with a price tag.
"I give you something, but I don’t want you to give me something tomorrow," Romero said. "When I give something, it’s because I want to give it. I don’t want my friend tomorrow to give me something [back]."
A huge point of controversy regarding Romero's "No forget Jesus" comment came in its audible delivery. To many, it sounded like the 185-pound fighter said "No for gay Jesus," at the time a topical misunderstanding. The U.S. Supreme Court passed legislation on June 26 to allow same-sex marriage throughout the nation, and Romero's fight came just one day after, on June 27.
The issue was fresh on everyone's mind, and many thought Romero was referencing that decision in his commentary. That, he says, was not his intention.
"He had no idea [about the same-sex marriage announcement]," Romero's translator said. "The day before, he was dropping weight for his fight, so he had no idea that was going on...When he spoke, it sounded like he was talking about what we’re talking about now [same-sex marriage legislation]. In [his] mind and in [his] heart, he was saying ‘no forget’ Jesus."
But with Romero, the cryptic messaging just won't go away. Even after clarifying his statement and spelling out exactly what he said, he acknowledged the fact that it may have sounded like "no for gay Jesus." And if it did, that's just the way god wanted it to be.
"If it got to peoples’ ears saying that mistake, it wasn’t his motive, but it was God who did it," his translator said.