Did Yoel Romero Take out Lyoto Machida and 'Gay Jesus' in 1 Night?

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterJune 28, 2015

USA Today

The stories coming out of Yoel Romero's destruction of Lyoto Machida should revolve around his ascendance to the top of the middleweight class. After a slow dance that took most of two rounds, Romero exploded early in the third to crush Machida's future title aspirations with five perfectly placed elbows to the head.

On a card without much else going for it, this victory was bound to drive the MMA discourse for several days. Machida, after all, is a former champion. Though he's in his declining years, he's not yet at a stage where a win over him is meaningless.

This win mattered. For Romero, it was the highlight of his short career.

Then someone stuck a live microphone in the Soldier of God's face.

"Hey. Hey, USA. Hey, Miami. Hey, Florida. Listen people. Listen. Listen. Listen," Romero said in broken English on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast. "What happened to you, USA? What happened to you? What's going on you? Forget for the best of the best in the world. The name is Jesus Christ. What happened to you? Wake up USA. Go, go back for you. Go. Go for Jesus."

And then the bombshell.

"No for Gay Jesus people."

Did he or didn't he?

It's the question that raged on Twitter after the fight. One day after the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage throughout the land, the seemingly bizarre criticism of a homosexual deity might make a modicum of sense in that context.

Some are convinced he did indeed bring up the possibility of a gay Jesus (which became a trending term on Twitter). Scamps on Wikipedia quickly changed his nickname to "Gay Jesus," as pointed out by MMAJunkie.com's Steven MarroccoOthers believe he actually said, "No forget Jesus, people." I've listened to it half a hundred times. What he actually said in the cage may never be known.

Later, at the post-fight press conference after prompting by a UFC official, Romero explained he wasn't attempting to reference gay marriage but rather the American experience.

"What I was trying to say—the United States, thank you," Romero said, now speaking Spanish and using a translator. "Thank you for giving me the American Dream. There is no better country than this one. Because it was blessed by God."

It's rare to hear a "thank you" begin by asking angrily, "What happened to you?" But because of a language barrier and post-fight adrenaline, maybe Romero deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Either way, the strange interview completely overshadowed all the other wacky stuff Romero did, including what appeared to be an Anthony Pettis-style cage-assisted punch that the former Olympic silver medalist turned into a takedown attempt to close the second round.

That sequence of events underscored something that's getting harder and harder to deny—the man can do things in the cage no one else can even imagine.

"This is the kind of power and athleticism this man possesses. You are never safe when you're in the Octagon with him," Fox Sports commentator Brian Stann said after the show. "When you feel the kind of power Romero possesses, you don't want to mess around too much."

The win pushes the 38-year-old fighter's UFC record to a perfect 6-0. All but one of those wins came by way of knockout. With another victory, particularly another finish over a top opponent, Romero could very well catapult himself right into title contention.

It turns out he's pretty good at the fighting part of his job. The public relations part? That could use a little work.

The UFC encourages fighters, even those just learning the language, to address the crowd in English. Perhaps, however, those messages should be shorter and more to the point—to prevent any unfortunate "misunderstandings."

Jonathan Snowden covers combat sports for Bleacher Report.

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