UFC Fighter Yoel Romero Awarded $27.45M in Lawsuit over Tainted Supplement

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 28, 2019

Yoel Romero fights Robert Whittaker in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

UFC fighter Yoel Romero received $27.45 million in a lawsuit versus Gold Star Performance Products after a Middlesex County (New Jersey) civil court court determined that the company made a tainted supplement that caused a failed drug test and led to a six-month suspension from the USADA in April 2016, per ESPN's Marc Raimondi.

Romero's manager, Abraham Kawa, and lawyer, Howard Jacobs, delivered the news to ESPN's Ariel Helwani (h/t Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports).

Per Baer, "Romero was reportedly rewarded $3 million each for lost wages, reputable harm and emotional damage, then had all of that [multiplied] by three because of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act."

Romero spoke with ESPN after the decision.

"I'm very happy. It's not about the money. I'm very happy now that everything is clean and more clear. You cannot live very well when you hear and you see when you post something [on social media] people reply 'Soldier of Steroids.' You cannot sleep very well. ... It's very emotional and important, too, because I know I've never taken anything in my life."

Kawa echoed similar sentiments about Romero's cheater label being lifted.

He also told Raimondi that he didn't expect to receive the full $27.45 million. Per Raimondi, Kawa is "not sure if Romero will receive that amount, given that Gold Star has not communicated at all with the court. Kawa said he believes Romero will still collect at least $5 million as a result of the case."

Romero tested positive after a split-decision win over Ronaldo Souza at UFC 194. Raimondi provided details:

"Romero, a Cuba native and former Olympic wrestling silver medalist, tested positive in December 2015 for the prohibited substance ibutamoren, which stimulates growth hormone secretion. He was suspended by USADA for six months when tests showed that the supplement Romero was takingShred Rx from Gold Star had ibutamoren in it. The banned drug was not on the warning label. Romero was facing a two-year suspension if he wasn't able to prove the supplement was contaminated."

He returned to the Octagon on Nov. 12, 2016 and beat Chris Weidman via third-round knockout. He lost to Robert Whittaker on July 8, 2017 for the interim UFC middleweight title. Romero received another shot at the interim title versus Luke Rockhold on Feb. 11, 2018 but did not make weight.

He won the bout by third-round knockout and got another chance at Whittaker for the belt on June 9, 2018 but did not make weight and lost the fight via split decision.

Romero, 42, is currently ranked as UFC's No. 2 non-champion middleweight. He is scheduled to fight No. 8 middleweight Paulo Costa on Aug. 17 at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California.

Romero, a former freestyle wrestler who won gold at the 1999 World Championships and silver at the 2000 Olympic Games, is 13-3 with 11 knockouts in his professional MMA career. The 28-year-old Costa is 12-0, and none of his wins have gone to a decision or past the second round.