At UFC 178 Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (9-1) participated in what some could see as an “un-godly” act in his fight with fellow ranked middleweight Tim Kennedy (18-5). The pair competed in what could’ve determined who is next in line to take on UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman at a date down the road. It was number 7 (Kennedy) taking on number 6 (Romero) and the end result provided chaos, controversy, questions but most importantly a win and a fight of the night.
Yoel was dominating the bout until the end of the second round when Kennedy’s offensive striking came alive. Tim had Yoel basically out on his feet with only the fence to keep him standing. “Big John” Mcarthy was inching close to calling the fight in Kennedy’s favor but the Solider of God received divine intervention in the form of the ring bell sounding to signify the end of the round.
Then the real drama happened. In all cases fighters get exactly 1 minute to drink water, rest, allow a cutman to work on a cut and receive instructions from trainers and coaches.
Yoel received roughly a minute and a half. Big John went to get the trainers out after Yoel who was visually almost out on his stool managed to return to his feet. The trainers even left without bringing the stool with them, the same stool that Romero resembled a man who’s supposed to leave a bar after being cut-off from too much consumption of alcohol.
Romero went on to dominate the final frame and defeated Kennedy via punches 38 seconds in. After the fight Tim refused to shake Romero’s hand and a video was released on a verbal encounter the pair shared backstage. Many say the extra 30 seconds didn’t matter however others believe that the extra time paid dividends for the 37 year old Romero.
Tim obviously disagreed with the way John Mcarthy handled the situation and he’s not the only one. UFC ringside commentator Joe Rogan weighed in on the occurrence on his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” and shared his thoughts on what he felt was a dirty tactic that should’ve ended the fight.
“If Romero was standing up they might have said there was too much Vaseline on and it would have taken two seconds to wipe it off, but he still sat on that stool,”said Rogan. He sat on that stool. Just sat there. Tim Kennedy‘s in front of him going, ‘What the f—? Get up! What’s going on?’ He’s still just sitting on the stool. That should be it. ‘Big John’ should have called the fight right there. You can’t just sit on the stool.”
“You can’t let that happen. You don’t expect it to happen but I guess you have to be diligent with some corners who, they know, know how to get themselves out of a f—ing situation.”
“Yoel Romero knew that the round was over. He knew he was getting extra break. 100 percent. One thousand million percent. He was sitting there. Kennedy was in front of him saying, ‘What’s going on? Get up!’ And he still just sat there. That extra 29 seconds was f—ing gigantic.”