Update May 29, 2019 – ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that this judgement was indeed a default judgement. This means the supplement manufacturer never bothered responding to the lawsuit allowing the court to find them at fault by default and also that the damages being requested were not opposed by anyone. When a Defendant fails to respond to litigation it is often a sign that the judgement will prove difficult to collect.
After failing an out-of -competition test administered by USADA, Yoel Romero and the anti doping agency reached a deal giving the UFC middleweight a 6 month suspension. The relatively lenient suspension was granted because Romero and USADA were able to trace the positive test back to a tainted supplement.
Romero went on to sue the supplement manufacturer. As reported by Forbes’ Paul Gift in 2018 ““Yoel Romero…has filed a lawsuit for negligence against Goldstar Performance Products in New Jersey Superior Court. …In his complaint, Romero alleges that Goldstar carelessly and negligently “failed to maintain the production facility” and “knew” Shred Rx was contaminated with Ibutamoren. His claimed injuries include damage to his reputation and “the loss of the chance at a middleweight UFC title fight.”
The lawsuit has reportedly concluded with Romero being awarded $27.45 million in total damages. Ariel Helwani read a message from Romero’s manager which apparently broke down the assessed damages as follows “$3 million for lost wages, $3 million for reputable harm, $3 million for emotional damage, multiplied that times three for the state of New Jersey ‘Consumer Fraud Act.’
It is unclear if this was a decision following a full trial or default judgment. I suspect the latter. I reached out to Romero’s manager for clarity and will update this article as further details emerge.
It is also unclear whether Romero will have any success in collecting this steep judgement or if this will turn out to be, like many lawsuits, a dry judgment. In any event success in litigation can go a long way in helping to rehabilitate the reputational harm suffered by Romero in this saga.