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Morning Report: Yoel Romero’s manager on Dana White’s threat to cancel Bisping-St-Pierre: It’s time to move on with this division

Yoel Romero Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Wednesday night, UFC President Dana White told Fox Sports Australia that he was scrapping the planned middleweight title fight between champion Michael Bisping and former welterweight kingpin, Georges St-Pierre. Earlier in the week, St-Pierre announced that he wouldn’t be ready to fight until October but the UFC had been hoping to hold the fight in July. This disconnect was apparently unsatisfactory to White who said that they “were not waiting for GSP” and that Bisping would instead be forced to defend his middleweight title against the next challenger.

One man who stands to benefit greatly from all of this (if indeed it is true and not just a negotiation by White to put pressure on St-Pierre) is Yoel Romero. Romero is the number one contender for the middleweight title and was next in line to face Bisping until St-Pierre jumped in front. Speaking with The Luke Thomas Show yesterday, Romero’s manager, Malki Kawa, said he was expecting this to happen because of the problems the fight was causing for White.

“I actually was expecting it. If you know Dana White, one thing he can’t stand is when fighters don’t fight, especially when the champions don’t fight. . . If you know Dana right and you watch him, he’s probably just tired of the whole hoopla with Georges. . .

“The whole division is up in arms. Everybody comes out every day screaming and yelling except for Yoel. It’s unreal how much this one fight has caused so much of a headache. “

The fight has been the cause of much consternation over the last few months. St-Pierre has been out of competition for four years and would be moving up to a weight class he had never competed in before. Furthermore, he was cutting to the head of the most backlogged division in the UFC at the moment, with multiple viable title contenders. Compound all of this with the fact that Bisping already faced a lowly ranked opponent for his first title defense and emotions in the division were running hot. Cancelling the St-Pierre-Bisping fight and insisting on a Romero title shot would go a long way towards smoothing things over, if that is in fact what’s to happen.

But there is the possibility that all of this is just talk. Georges St-Pierre suggested White’s threat to cancel the fight could be purely a way to pressure him into accepting the title fight sooner than he wanted. Kawa says that is a possibility but he doesn’t personally think that is the case.

“It could be. It’s a possibility but I doubt it. How do you come out publicly and say, ‘Yoel Romero is the guy that Bisping’s gonna fight’ one time, then you have him step aside and then do the same thing a second time? I just don’t see how. . .

“From what I’ve got from people at the UFC, they’re definitely gonna target the fight between Bisping and Yoel Romero. We’ve already accepted. We told them we’re in and we’re ready to rock and roll so we’re waiting on Bisping to accept.”

Even if White’s threat does prove true, Bisping accepting the Romero fight is a whole other kettle of fish. Bisping has adamantly maintained that he deserves the big money fight with St-Pierre and he recently said on his podcast that he is still having knee troubles and might need the extra time to heal up. If White is serious about the Romero fight, and Bisping refuses to take it, Kawa says the champion should be stripped of the title.

“I think the kicker in all of this is Bisping. It depends on Bisping because if Bisping refuses to fight, then what’s the next step? That’s gonna be the next thing.

“[If Bisping does refuse] I’m calling for them to strip the belt at this point. It’s time to strip the belt. . . It’s unfortunate. It’s a bad situation for everyone to be in but at the end of the day, it’s time for us to move on with this division.”


Bluff. Georges St-Pierre reacted to Dana White’s threat to cancel Bisping fight.

Weed. Kelvin Gastelum has been suspended by USADA for three months for marijuana.

Talks. Scott Coker says he likely will talk with Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes about return fights.

Out. Anderson Silva is officially out of UFC 212.

Match maker. Edson Barboza is eyeing fights with Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.


Rashad Coulter is awesome. I dare someone to watch this and not pull for this man on Saturday.

Embedded 4.



Zahabi Q&A.

DJ interview on Sway.


The Naked Truth. UFC 211 talk, Henry Cejudo’s dangerous training, and John Lineker.

Before the Battle. Breaking down every fight at UFC 211 plus DraftKings.

Fights Gone By. Jack Slack previews UFC 211.

Show the Art. UFC 211 preview.


Don’t count on it.

Might be waiting awhile.

D.C. not letting up.

Kinda wish they’d just do this.

How could anyone not love JDS?

Yep. Dude just fought Cub but now he’s shook.........

Ben Askren’s last four opponents: Bakhtiyar Abbasov, Nobutatsu Suzuki, Luis Santos, and Nikolay Aleksakhin. He’s set to face Agilan Thani next..............


Tim Elliott (14-7-1) vs. Ben Nguyen (17-6); UFC Fight Night: Auckland, June 11.

Dooho Choi (14-2) vs. Andre Fili (16-4); UFC 214, July 29.


1990: Yasuto Sekishima submitted Yoshimasa Ishikawa to become the inaugural Shooto welterweight champion at Shooto’s sixth event.

2007: Doug Marshall knocked out Justin McElfresh to retain the WEC light heavyweight championship at WEC 27.


Let’s play this out. Bisping has no play here. If he refuses to fight, they can just strip him and no one will care. Likewise, Romero has no leverage. But GSP, GSP has all the leverage. The UFC needs GSP because they desperately need stars to drive PPVs. GSP wants Bisping (realistically, because it’s a winnable fight that improves his legacy). GSP doesn’t want any other fight really because those other fights offer him nothing of value beyond a payday and he’s in this for legacy building. So if the UFC pulls this fight, decent chance GSP refuses to fight, which the UFC can’t really afford. This is games by Dana White, and as long as Bisping and GSP both hold, they’ll fight in October despite almost no one wanting that fight anymore. That’s my take on it.

Anyway, it’s finally here. Fights are finally back and this weekend’s card is exceptional. Fingers crossed we don’t lose any other fights. Be sure to tune in to our live stream of the weigh-ins with Ariel Helwani doing commentary. Never know when we’ll get another Cormier Towel #7 incident.

Enjoy 211 and see y’all on Monday.

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.

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