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Yoel Romero says he and Jorge Masvidal have a friendly wager for 2019 — and it could turn out to be an expensive one

Yoel Romero fights Jacare Souza at UFC Sunrise.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jorge Masvidal had somewhat of a star turn last month with his wild night at UFC London, which saw him starch hometown hero Darren Till with a wicked second-round knockout then coin one of 2019’s most memorable MMA catchphrases with his “three-piece with a soda” post-fight melee with Leon Edwards. The one-two punch combination of his evening rocketed Masvidal back into the top five of the UFC’s welterweight rankings and put him firmly in the mix among the division’s contenders.

And by the end of 2019, that could end up costing Yoel Romero a lot of money.


Well, Masvidal and Romero are longtime friends and training partners at American Top Team. Both men share Cuban roots and both recently starred on Latin American reality show Exathlon, which sees athletes and celebrities from various walks of life compete in obstacle courses and physical challenges. And their mutual experiences on the series prompted a little friendly wager for 2019, which made Masvidal’s successful night at UFC London all the sweeter for the man who goes by the moniker “Gamebred.”

“I know Jorge very well,” Romero recently told MMA Fighting, laughing. “See, he has reactions like this because the other guy (Edwards), he made him crazy. That’s it. I know he stayed ready for the (Till) fight. When he was coming out of Exathlon, he said to me, ‘Hey, we have a deal?’ I said, ‘Tell me.’ He said, ‘We’re going to see who wins the belt this year first.’ I said, ‘Okay, we have a deal.’ We shook on it, and we said okay, we have a deal. And now I know he wanted to kill this guy (Till). I know, because I know my guy.

“And what happened after the fight, outside of the fight — my guy is very humble, very humble. I think other guy made him crazy, Leon, because Jorgie’s very humble. Jorgie doesn’t talk or anything, Jorgie is very humble. It is what it is.”

Romero, the No. 1-ranked middleweight contender who rematches Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza on April 27 in the main event of UFC Sunrise, said the friendly wager between he and Masvidal was inspired by Exathlon and could end up costing a pretty penny for the loser.

“The deal we have with Jorgie, he said to me, ‘Whoever wins the belt first this year, the other guy needs to pay for an all-expense-paid trip to Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic,’ where [they film] Exathlon,” Romero explained. “Party, vacation. It’s a beautiful place. It’s where they film the show, but it’s [off-site] where we want to go.”

How long would this all-expense-paid trip last?

Two weeks, says Romero. Plenty of time for the winner to enjoy all of the free-of-charge spoils of war courtesy of the loser.

“The Solider of God” returned from filming the latest season of Exatlón Estados Unidos in Las Terrenas in early March and gushed about his time on the show. In total, he spent nearly two months competing before being eliminated from the 17-week program, and he said the physicality of the many hurdles the producers throw at competitors helped him to cultivate a different type of fitness than he was used to, one that has improved his fluidity and range of movement since returning.

It also didn’t hurt that the show was basically being filmed in paradise.

“It’s an amazing place. I’ve never seen a place like this. I love Las Terrenas. I really love Las Terrenas,” Romero said.

“When Jorge came back, he called me and said, ‘Hey brother, you need to go. That is an amazing opportunity. That is a beautiful time. You need to go, you need to do [it].’ I said okay, I believe you, I want to try. When I went, [I realized] it’s true what he said. I love Las Terrenas. I had a beautiful experience. I stayed two months with beautiful people. I said thank you God, thank you to my manager, thank you to Jorge, and thank you to Telemundo for giving me this opportunity.”

So with a dance date with Souza already locked in for April 27, does Romero expect to make an all-expense-paid return to Las Terrenas by the end of 2019, courtesy of his good buddy?

“Come on, man,” Romero said, laughing again. “Of course.”

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