Yoel Romero has pulled back the curtain on the situation that delayed his Bellator debut.

Romero, a former multiple-time UFC title challenger, shared details of the eye injury that canceled his bout against Anthony Johnson and ruled him out of the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix back in April. Romero (13-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) told MMA Junkie it was an eye poke that injured his left eye during his training camp to fight Johnson.

Looking back, Romero is glad doctors didn’t deem him fit to compete for Bellator 258, as it was in his best interest.

“I think the best decision was not to fight,” Romero said in Spanish. “It happened during a sparring where I got eye-poked and doctors advised me that it was best not to fight. I’m thankful that we’re working with professionals, who are taking care of you and watching out for you.

“You have to be sensitive to what they say. If they’re telling you, ‘Look, you’re older. It’s not like you’re a kid and you can go out there and fight and run the risk, but you have a chance to make up for it in case of any error. It can cost you. You don’t need to fight right this moment. Let this eye heal and then you can fight.’ It made sense what they said, so I took my time.”

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Many speculated on the gravity of his failed medical test, as there were very few details on the situation at the time. Romero said the injury wasn’t bad. It slightly affected his vision, but he’s finally fully healed.

“It was just really cloudy, so when I did the tests for the vision, they were like, ‘Hmmm, this is not good,’” Romero said. “So that’s why I didn’t pass the test. But thank God everything is good now.”

Romero makes his Bellator debut Saturday in the main event of Bellator 266 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. He takes on former champion Phil Davis in a light heavyweight matchup.

This is Romero’s first bout since departing from the UFC. He hast fought in March 2020, losing a close decision against champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 248.


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