Tonight’s UFC 221 has been plagued from the start, and it almost got worse.
That’s because after a Yoel Romero missed weight, Luke Rockhold wasn’t committing to fighting in the night’s main event.
Originally the UFC planned on a title unification bout between undisputed champion Georges St-Pierre and interim champion Robert Whittaker. Of course, GSP would vacate the belt, which allowed Rockhold to step up to face Whittaker for the undisputed world title. Then Whittaker would fall ill with a staph infection, which allowed Yoel Romero to come in and try to capture an interim world title against Rockhold.
But, that plan has now changed too, following Romero’s infraction on the scales.
The UFC and Rockhold’s camp engaged in renegotiations of the bout, after Romero missed weight. That’s because Yoel violated the terms of his agreement, and the original contracts were then void.
This put Luke in the power seat, as he did not have to take the fight at a new weight class on short notice, and could have easily walked from the event, leaving UFC 221 absent a headliner.
Holding out for more money, according to reports, Rockhold and the UFC would eventually come to terms, for a half an interim title fight.
Yoel Romero came in on a second weigh-in attempt at 187.7 pounds. He is ineligible for a world title should he win tonight’s main event. However, since Luke did make championship weight, if he wins he gets a shiny new belt.
The good news is that UFC 221 will go on as planned, mostly.