If you want Yoel Romero to participate in your press conference, maybe book a room on the first or second floor of a venue. That’s what we all learned Wednesday after a pre-fight press conference was held by Bellator.
A fear of heights stopped Romero from participating in the promotion’s event on Wednesday, as it took place in a venue that was very high up.
Instead of Romero coming face-to-face with light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov – the opponent he will meet Friday as part of Bellator 297 from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois – the duo did an e-face-off at the press conference through the power of technology.
Fear of heights stops Yoel Romero from attending press conference
On Wednesday, Bellator held a press conference from the high-up Willis Tower in Chicago. Hosted by Chael Sonnen, the press conference Bellator President Scott Coker, along with notable names that are set to compete this weekend.
But something was off: headliner Romero was present but in the form of a flatscreen TV that they had beside the press conference table.
Many wondered why Romero wasn’t able to appear. It would cause some concern for the fight if Romero was maybe feeling sick or even hurt, causing him to not attend the event. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, it turns out the accomplished fighter has a pretty rough fear of heights.
“Do you know why Yoel is not here with us today?” host Sonnen asked the crowd. “Turns out, he’s scared of heights. He wasn’t scared of Nemkov … Quite frankly, I really don’t blame him guys. We’re up quite high, aren’t we?”
High up they certainly were. The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) opened in 1973 as the tallest building in the world, scaling a stunning 1,451 feet. Its record was taken away in 1998 after a taller building, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, was finished.
Wednesday was a work-from-home day for Romero, who appeared to be in a hotel room leaning up against his bedframe as the press conference took place.
Nemkov faces off with a screen
The fact that Romero was not present for the press conference did not stop him from doing a face-off against champion Nemkov. As the event was wrapping up, Nemkov walked in front of the TV and did a staredown. Romero looked to have a massive size advantage – wait, no, the TV just had a close-up shot of him.
The moment was done in jest and showed that both fighters seemed pretty easygoing about not meeting in person that day. And Bellator was probably happy that nobody had to be in between them to potentially do a pull-apart! If things got tense they could just hang up on Romero.
Yoel Romero searches for gold this weekend
This weekend will be Romero’s first title shot since joining the Bellator roster. The former UFC title challenger has been given the championship opportunity after earning a pair of finish wins last year, stopping Alex Polizzi and Melvin Manhoef with strikes. This matchup was first scheduled for February but later got bumped to Bellator’s card in Chicago this weekend.
Nemkov will aim to continue his incredibly dominant title run this weekend against Romero. He has overcome numerous former UFC names in recent years, beating Corey Anderson, Phil Davis, and dethroning Ryan Bader to originally earn the title in 2020. He has yet to lose since joining the promotion in 2017.
Bellator 297 will also feature a title fight in the co-main event, as Patricio Pitbull will drop down to bantamweight and look to take a belt away from fellow veteran Sergio Pettis.
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