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Scott Coker on why Bellator passed on Yoel Romero - ‘We’ve gotten away from signing the O.G.’s’

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UFC 248: Adesanya v Romero Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

After Yoel Romero and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) parted ways, many felt that “Soldier of God” would have countless offers from major promotions. After all, Romero is one of the scariest and intimidating fighters in the sport, boasting a ridiculous highlight reel to back it up.

And while he has lost three of his last four, the hulking Cuban would be a great addition to any organization. Unfortunately, two major promotions — Professional Fighters League (PFL) and Bellator MMA — have already passed on his services.

As far as Bellator is concerned, Scott Coker explained the reason he wasn’t interested in signing one of the best Middleweights in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.

“We got a call from (his) agent, and originally we just passed,” Coker said told MMA Junkie “If you look at our roster and how many fighters we have on this roster and how many fights we’re going to do, there are only so many TV slots. We have kind of gotten away from signing the O.G.s we used to sign back in the day. That’s because guys like A.J. [McKee] are coming up. Ilima-Lei [Macfarlane] is developing into a main event fighter.”

I guess Anthony Johnson doesn’t qualify as an O.G. just yet ...

Even though Romero is 43 years old, he still has a lot to offer the hurt business; however, with Bellator focusing on its up-and-coming stars instead of former title contenders, “Soldier of God” simply doesn’t fit its current plans.

“We’ve basically built from the bottom up,” Coker concluded. “We have a lot of great fighters that are on the roster that we’ve built over the last four to five years. We were kind of headed in a different direction. I was happy with the way the roster is right now not adding anybody.”

It wasn’t out of the ordinary for Coker to swoop in and sign former UFC fighters once their contracts were up, but since the company now wants to focus on its homegrown talent moving forward, it’s not a good sign for looming UFC free agents.

I mean, not even Anderson Silva got consideration ...