Kevin Croom has the memories of his spectacular performance the first time he fought in a UFC cage in September.
More important, he cashed a bonus check. He just didn’t get to keep the win on his record.
The boisterous 33-year-old already had 33 pro fights when he finally got the call to fight Roosevelt Roberts on the UFC Fight Night 177 card on a few days’ notice. He quickly accepted, though he insists he told the organization he had been consuming marijuana regularly.
Croom burst onto the scene with a spectacular 31-second submission to earn a $50,000 performance of the night bonus and followed with a hilarious news conference on a night that made him feel well on his way to accomplishing his dream of UFC stardom.
But the Nevada Athletic Commission rained on his parade a few days later when it issued a fine and suspension for a positive marijuana test that also turned his win into a no-contest.
So Croom has a chance to do it all over again when he faces veteran featherweight Alex Caceres on the UFC Fight Night 186 card Saturday at the Apex.
Not that the sanction bothered the “Hard-hitting Hillbilly” much anyway.
“They didn’t take (anything) from me,” Croom said this week. “Here I am again. I got paid like I won. It’s all semantics. He knows I won. I know I won.
“I took the fight on 36 hours notice. I came here and I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve been smoking.’ The UFC was like, ‘Cool, man. No problem.’ ”
While the Missouri native is still frustrated by the ruling, he’s not about to let it happen again. He said he stopped using marijuana two months ago in preparation for the fight.
“I’m probably going to lay off awhile,” Croom said.