By Lance Edwards
Indelacio Tat “Mean Bean” Romero (28-6) is a veteran of both RFA and Legacy FC, and now makes the transition to LFA. Standing at just five-feet-six inches tall, Romero doesn’t have the height and reach of a lot of other welterweights. He makes up for it in tenacity and a lower center of gravity which certainly aids his wrestling. He returns at LFA 38 to fight Dane Sayers (12-3). In 2010, the two fought, with Romero taking the split decision. For this fight, Sayers aims to get vindication, and Romero is determined to show the previous win wasn’t a fluke.
Romero made his professional MMA debut way back in 2004. With a background in wrestling, Tat had his first wrestling match at three or four years old. He also played football as a youth. When he was finished with wrestling in college, he needed something to replace the sport he loved, and MMA filled that niche for him.
In LFC, Romero faced Isiah Pitts (6-3) in 2016, winning in the first round by choke. After the fight, Romero retired from the sport, but came back in 2017 to fight again and add another victory to his record.
“I beat Isiah Pitts in exactly the way I’d been planning. I took him down and forced my will. I knew he’d be long in his punches, so wanted to see how he was on his back. I was better on top than he was on his back. I retired after the fight. Things happened in my personal life since then and I feel I retired for the wrong reasons.”
In their previous fight, The Ultimate Fighter veteran Dane Sayers shattered Romero’s nasal socket during the second round. The cage was covered in blood and Romero showed his heart and determination, fighting through to the victory.
“It was the toughest fight I had to date. I’m very prepared going in to this one. I’m back with my original striking coach. I’ve been working on a lot of stuff. I’ve also working on fighting southpaws. I’ve fought only one before and that was Dane.”
Romero is proud of his racial heritage, having Native American blood, French Chippewa on his mother’s side and Mexican/Apache on his father’s. He has a strong sense of community, and tries to give back when he can. Last year, Romero was coaching wrestling, but decided to take a break this season.
“I went through a divorce and wanted to spend time with my son. I removed a few things out of my life, and coaching was one. I moved nearer to him, and the majority of my week is spent working, training and spending time with him.”
Romero isn’t concerned if the fight is a quick one or goes the distance.
“I always train to go the whole distance. I’ve been working on my striking, but I don’t ever quit working my ground game and looking to improve that. I go to Tony Renzalia for strength and conditioning. He has been doing a lot of work with me throughout the week, week in, week out. I’m hoping to have perfected everything to get me the W.”
As for what comes next, Tat is taking a “we’ll see” attitude.
“Next, I’ll drink some Budweiser, after that I have no idea. I’ll ride my bike, drink some beer and enjoy my time with the family. Every fight from now on has the potential to be my last. If I retire, then I’ll walk away quietly. I’ll play it fight by fight and see what happens.
“I’d like to thank War Tribe Gear and Native American Fighter. Also Grit Mouthguards sponsor me. I also want to thank Palmers Tavern in Hibbing and Sawmill Saloon in Virginia. They’ve both been good to me this camp. They’re the two best bars on the range as well.”