Why was Yoel Romero forced to withdraw from the Anthony Johnson fight at Bellator 258?

Yoel Romero is reportedly out of his expected co-main event clash against Anthony Johnson at Bellator 258
Yoel Romero is reportedly out of his expected co-main event clash against Anthony Johnson at Bellator 258

Former UFC middleweight Yoel Romero has been pulled from his forthcoming Bellator MMA debut against former UFC light-heavyweight title contender Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson. According to CBS Sports, Romero was unable to clear pre-fight medical examinations and tests required by Bellator MMA.

Bellator MMA has not provided full disclosure of Yoel Romero's medical issues. The promotion is reportedly looking to reschedule the highly-anticipated clash as Romero will be eligible to reapply for medical clearance in three months.

"Romero will become eligible to reapply for clearance to compete in three months, and we look forward to seeing him make his Bellator debut in the near future," Bellator said in a statement. "Bellator MMA will look to reschedule the highly anticipated Johnson versus Romero matchup at a future date." (Transcription Credits: CBS Sports)

Yoel Romero vs. Anthony Johnson was originally slated to be the fourth and last matchup in the Bellator light heavyweight world Grand Prix quarterfinals. The winner would've faced Russia's Vadim Nemkov in the semi-finals.

However, with Yoel Romero being forced to withdraw, the bout appears to be off the grand Prix tournament altogether. Although Bellator is on the lookout for a tournament alternate, it is uncertain if "Rumble" will be seen competing at Bellator 258 since the fight card is merely eight days away.

Bellator MMA put forth a statement addressing Romero's withdrawal on its social media handles:

Yoel Romero was slated to make his light-heavyweight return at Bellator 258

Yoel Romero made his pro-MMA debut in the light-heavyweight division against Austrian fighter Sascha Weinpolter. Subsequently, the Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling inked a deal with the UFC and began competing in the middleweight division.

At UFC 248, Yoel Romero made his final UFC middleweight outing against 'The Last Stylebender' Israel Adesanya. 'Soldier of God' fell short in his third attempt at the title owing to a loss via unanimous decision. The defeat marked Romero's third consecutive loss.

In December 2020, Yoel Romero parted ways with the UFC and became a free agent. Ten days later, the former UFC fighter signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA, re-embarking his light heavyweight career.

Edited by Avinash Tewari
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