By Nolan King | February 24, 2021 6:00 pm
Kevin Croom’s UFC debut performance was picture-perfect.
After years of fighting on the regional circuit throughout the United States, Croom (21-12 MMA, 0-0 UFC) got the call to make his UFC debut on days’ notice this past September.
Up a weight class against a heavy favorite, Croom pulled off one of 2020’s most unlikely upsets when he rocked, dropped and finished Roosevelt Roberts in 31 seconds. The victory caught the attention of UFC president Dana White, who quickly went on Instagram to announce Croom a performance bonus winner even before the card was over.
As he enters his UFC Fight Night 186 fight vs. Alex Caceres (17-12 MMA, 12-10 UFC) on Saturday, however, Croom’s win is no longer recognized in the record books. Shortly after his debut, Croom was flagged by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) for a positive drug test for marijuana.
Despite his improbable victory no longer being recognized by the ABC, Croom doesn’t care. Weed didn’t win him that fight in September, so in his book, it can’t take away the victory, either.
“I cared about it for about five minutes, you know?” Croom told MMA Junkie on Monday. “It’s not a thing. I got paid as if I won. The whole world saw me win. I won. You can call it a ‘no contest,’ but we all know I won that. It’s all semantics. That fight changed my life. It validated me as a fighter. It validated every ounce of hard work I put into this. I’ve been validated. I don’t care at all.”
The UFC brass didn’t seem to think Croom cheated, either, and allowed him to keep his $50,000 bonus. Performance bonuses are often withdrawn when fighters test positive for banned substances.