After two tries, Yoel Romero will not be competing for the UFC middleweight title on Saturday.
The would-be challenger was granted an extra two hours by the Illinois State Athletic Commission to make weight at Friday’s weigh-ins for UFC 225 in Chicago after coming in heavy on his first attempt for his championship rematch with Robert Whittaker. Clearance from a physician was also required for Romero to attempt a second weigh-in.
Romero initially weighed in at 186 pounds and he came in at 185.2 pounds on his second attempt, making him ineligible to win the title in Saturday’s main event. It is unclear whether the fight will proceed and if so what conditions will be negotiated by the fighters’ teams.
The 41-year-old Romero also had issues making weight for his interim middleweight title fight with Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 this past February. Stepping in on short notice for an injured Whittaker, Romero was unable to hit the 185-pound mark for that contest in Perth, Australia. The bout proceeded with only Rockhold being eligible to win the interim title, but Romero would go on to defeat him by third-round knockout. Though Romero would not be awarded a championship belt, the outcome earned him a shot at Whittaker.
Whittaker defeated Romero by unanimous decision at UFC 213 last July to claim an interim title that was later promoted to undisputed status.
Monday on The MMA Hour, Romero told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that his weight had never been a concern in the past and he was not expecting it to be an issue for UFC 225.
“I don’t make nothing different from what I do every time when I go to the fight,” Romero told Helwani when asked if he felt any extra pressure to make weight. “The problem last time was not having time. That was the only problem.”
“When you have the normal training camp and you miss weight, that’s the big problem,” he continued. “Like, ‘Oh, a mistake!’ But when you know you can’t make the weight because something happened — for example, you’re sick. ‘Okay, I don’t make the weight because I’m sick.’ This is different than when you don’t make the weight because you don’t have discipline, you don’t have the responsibility. That’s different. Or maybe because you can’t go down to this division. That’s different.
“But I do this division for 21 years. I don’t have a problem.”
UPDATE: UFC president Dana White stated Friday following ceremonial weigh-ins that Whittaker vs. Romero is on as a five-round, non-title fight. More on this story as it develops.