UFC 248’s Yoel Romero Complains “It’s Impossible to Fight a Ghost”

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Las Vegas, NV — “Never give up,” Yoel Romero exclaimed when asked following UFC 248 if he would pursue another title shot in the middleweight division.

While Romero may not be giving up, fans may be ready to dismiss the idea of a second bout between the Cuban and champion Israel Adesanya. That’s after the downright bizarre scene that unfolded atop the Las Vegas PPV card Saturday.

Romero stood deathly still in the center of the octagon to start the fight. Adesanya, known for his flashy striking, chose not to engage. He stayed on the outside; Romero insisted on a meeting in the middle. Like watching two stubborn children refusing to share their toys.

Romero certainly let his frustration be known following the fight. “It’s impossible to fight a ghost,” he stated. He’d clarify that, not that it was at all unclear to those watching, speaking via translator to media outlets including Cageside Press. Adesanya, he said, “was non-existent. I showed up to fight, Israel apparently showed up to fight, but every time I showed up to engage, he would disappear.”

“At no point is Yoel giving him any respect,” his translator added. “We’ve lost all respect for him as a fighter. You can’t call yourself a warrior if you’re going to run.”

Speaking in English, Romero then added “tonight, everybody lose. Not only me. The fans, the UFC. The only winner tonight is him. Only him. The fans for UFC, he’s losing. They’re losing money.”

“The whole night was just a waste. It didn’t have the spectacular outcome that I wanted, didn’t have the show, didn’t have the gladiators that wanted to fight,” he stated. “You need a dignified champion. You don’t need someone that’s going to run. You need somebody that’s going to represent your brand.”

Romero’s frustration at his opponent’s lack of engagement continued to bleed through throughout the post-fight press conference. “This is a contact sport, this is combat. You’re going to get hit, and you’re going to hit them. He needs to find another sport, either start running professionally, or start dancing professionally.”

Romero’s appraoch early, to stand still, was an attempt to force Adesanya to engage. “I didn’t want to chase him around the ring, I wanted to stand in front of him.” What he wanted, he said, was for them to kill each other.

Instead, the snail-like pace of the fight was underscored by the brilliance of the women’s strawweight title fight that unfolded immediately before it. Though Romero was quick to brush off any criticism of his game plan. “What did you guys want to see? An old man chasing a young man, and a young man running? That’s not the game I wanted, but that’s what you guys got. I stood in front of him, I engaged him, and he just ran. There’s no way anybody saw that fight otherwise.”

“More aggressive?” he added, increduously. “How?”

Romero also took some heat for comments he made regarding Adesanya’s African ancestors being runners. You can view that clip below.

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