On Wednesday, news spread about UFC middleweight contender Yoel Romero winning a lawsuit and damages of more than $27 million. Romero won his case against Gold Star Performance, a New Jersey-based supplements company that sold him a tainted product that contained a banned substance. The supplements were ruled to have caused Romero's failed drug test in 2016.
While the number is bright and shiny and it's great to see someone vindicated who has been falsely accused, the truth is, Romero may never see any of the $27 million. Some media outlets and talking heads reported Romero received a settlement, but that isn't true. A settlement occurs when both parties involved in the legal situation come to an agreement, and the defendant decides to pay the plaintiff to resolve the issue.
This is almost impossible when the defendant doesn't show up to court or cooperate with the legal process.
I reached out to Carl D. Berry, the Managing Attorney for The Strategic Legal Group, via phone for some clarity. Berry has an extensive history in sports law and has worked within the combat sports realm for years with Don King Productions, Warrior Boxing Promotions, among others.
When I asked Berry what the likelihood was of Romero actually collecting the $27 million in damages, he said, "the fact that the organization didn't offer a defense, and didn't show up at court is a bad sign." Several scenarios can spring from Wednesday's news, and unfortunately for Romero few of them end with him collecting the damages. While we don't know the exact financial status of Gold Star Performance, it doesn't feel like a stretch to call it unlikely the organization has the assets to make good on the court's judgment.