The Stool Gate Controversy: Did Yoel Romero Pull Off a Dirty Trick

Published 03/03/2020, 9:16 AM EST


The Tim Kennedy-Yoel Romero match at UFC 178 furnished all the zing the fans had hoped for. While Romero won the bout that night, the fight had its considerable share of dissensions. This fight ended up being a huge clutter and an offbeat in Ultimate Fighting Championship history. Yoel Romero took an extra 30 seconds between the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the fight on the stool in the corner which followed a series of disagreements. This entire incident was hence named as the stool gate incident.

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There has been a lot of controversies around this fight. There were a lot of comments and reviews that floated in from different people in the sport. Each one specifying their take on the incident. This article will focus on the stool gate incident of the epic fight between Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero and the after-effects and controversies that followed through it.

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What is the Stool Gate Incident?

In the bout, Kennedy entirely owned the second round in the fight with Yoel Romero. At the end of the second round, Romero would have lost if the bell did not ring as a savior. Romero sat on the stool for about half a minute more. This was as an additional rest period for him. When he came back in the third round he made a great comeback and knocked out Tim in just 38 seconds. 

Allegedly the UFC cutman had applied extra vaseline onto Yoel Romero’s face. This prompted referee John McCarthy to ask the cutman to wipe off the extras on Yoel’s body. There was some language barrier in the whole situation which left Yoel alone on the stool in the octagon. Some say it was a dirty move from Yoel to get some extra time to rejuvenate and regain his energy. Tim Kennedy felt that match should have declared him as the winner as a TKO when Yoel failed to stand from his stool at the end of the rest period.

On the other hand Yoel Romero had a different take on this incident altogether. He said MMA fighting that Tim held his gloves with one hand and punched him with his other hand. Romero found this to be illegal. A video supporting his comments surfaced after the fight on the internet. This was what the fighter said-“When an athlete hits the opponent illegally, the opponent that gets hit gets five minutes of a break to recover,” 

Coach and Dana White reacts

As we know that there were a lot of comments that surfaced post the fight and this article should cover some of the expert comments before taking any sides.

Ricardo Liborio- Romero’s coach called the entire situation a misunderstanding. He believed this was just a language barrier where he was not able to comprehend the referee’s direct order to clean up the excess vaseline. This was what Liborio told MMA fighting:-“I wasn’t inside the Octagon when it all happened. I was giving instructions outside the cage because Paulino (Hernandez), his boxing coach, doesn’t speak a single word in English. He only speaks Spanish,”. “When they said seconds out, I went back to the corner and didn’t see what happened. “But when I was talking to Yoel, he was already back. He wasn’t out. He was talking to me. I told him ‘you have to go straight forward and win the round, you have to win the third round,’ and he said ‘I got it, coach.'”

Dana White, the president of UFC admitted that UFC was equally at fault for the events that took place in the fight. 

Though things were not as designed, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Francisco Aguilar doesn’t believe there are grounds for a plea. This was what they had to say:-“It was a bunch of things all happening at once,” Aguilar told Bleacher Report. “Our inspector had to get the grease off his face. Our inspector who was supposed to get the stool out didn’t get it out in time.”

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Did Yoel Romero Cheat?

Is it the fault of Tim Kennedy when he illegally held Yoel’s gloves? Was it the referee’s ignorance that led to this series of events? Or Yoel and the team played some dirty move to win the bout?

In my verdict, it was a cluster of events that nobody contemplated of. Everybody seems to be equitably at fault for the incomprehension. This match is one of the most atypical matches in the history of the UFC. The Stool Gate Incident still holds many unsettled questions.

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Abhilasha Singh

83 articles

Abhilasha Singh is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. Having completed her post-graduation from The University of Texas in Austin, she combines her keen eye for details and her love for the sport to give readers pristine content on everything UFC. Abhilasha is a hardcore fan of Amanda Nunes, Georges St Pierre, and Stipe Miocic, but Conor McGregor is the one who tops her list.

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