UFC middleweight Yoel Romero lived up to his “Soldier of God” moniker at UFC Fight Night 70.
He looked like a soldier in his victory over all-time great Lyoto Machida early Sunday morning. He spoke for God in the aftermath.
“Wow, my friends, I want to say something,” the Olympic wrestling silver medalist told the Hollywood, Florida, crowd. “I’ll try English. Hey, UFC! Hey, Miami! Hey, Florida! Listen, people, listen, listen, listen!”
The Cuban defector, who in 2007 escaped from the island-prison where atheism reigns as the state religion, asked: “What happened to you, USA? What happened to you? What’s going on? You forget the best of the best in the world? The name is Jesus Christ.”
“What happened to you?” Romero, wearing a “John 3:16” headband, asked. “Wake up, USA! Go back. Go! Go for Jesus, no for gay Jesus, people!”
That’s what people heard even if that may not be what he said—or intended to say. His remarks sounded as though directed at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Friday decision to force states to erase their democratically arrived-at laws that do not recognize gay marriage in favor of a one-size-fits-all edict devised by five justices. At least that’s the way gay marriage supporters took it.
Karim Zidan writes at Bloody Elbow:
It … begs the distinction between freedom of speech and hate speech, which is the infringement or attack on a person(s) based on attributes such as gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Romero may have the right to think whatever he pleases, but that does not give him the right to impose his perspective on [t]he thousands in attendance and watching at home. It was insensitive, cruel, misguided and reeked of willful ignorance rooted in a misunderstanding of religion.
For Romero to think he had the right to publicly comment on the historic result of decades of activism, litigation, countless right-related infringements and cruel punishments was a decision that should rightfully stain the remainder of his career and blemish him as a homophobic fighter who besmirches others in the name of religion.
Whether Romero said “no for gay Jesus” or “no forget Jesus” appears a question whose answer appears open to interpretation. But since Romero spoke without an interpreter, his friends and foes hear what they want to hear.
The explosive Romero unleashed unrelenting elbows upon Machida after a takedown in the third round to elicit a referee stoppage and put him alongside Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza as a top-tier contender with a credible claim to a shot at Chris Weidman’s belt. But between the time he addressed the crowd and the time he addressed the media, Romero tapped out on his remarks. PR guys working for your paymasters, like commissars working for the Castro brothers, can be a convincing lot.
Wait……no Romero… Just no. He’s gonna get a PR visit now
— Kevin Lee (@MoTownPhenom) June 28, 2015
Oh, well, look at the bright side: At least Yoel Romero didn’t walk out of the octagon wrapped in a Confederate flag.
— Jeff Wagenheim (@jeffwagenheim) June 28, 2015
congratulations to Yoel Romero for winning the first ever UFC Hate Speech of the Night bonus! — Chris Nelson (@3ammma) June 28, 2015
Romero called his remarks, perhaps lost in broken-English-to-English translation, a “misunderstanding.”
The powerful Cuban told the press: “God told Mary Magdalene, ‘You’re a prostitute. Go and don’t sin anymore.’ And he told her with love. Who am I to judge anybody? Even though I didn’t refer to that, even though there was a misunderstanding, I will tell you guys something: God made man to be free. Anybody can do whatever they want.”
No, Yoel. Unfortunately, anybody cannot do, or say, whatever he wants. You may not be in Cuba anymore. But you’re not quite in America, either.