Despite Yvel's controversial history that includes biting an opponent in 1998, raking the eyes of Don Frye in 2001 and attacking a referee in 2004, UFC president Dana White recently said he had no hesitation in bringing the heavyweight to the UFC.
"It was me that made the decision to sign [Yvel]," White said. "I have a long relationship with John Lewis, who's been working with him, and John's been trying to get him on the UFC now for quite a while.
"It wasn't just, 'Hey, let's throw Gilbert Yvel back in there.' We talked to him, took some time, and he assured me that he's going to be an absolute professional."
Yvel's past conduct resulted in the Nevada State Athletic Commission denying him a license to fight in 2007. After Yvel competed in a pair of 2009 fights in the U.S. without incident, the NSAC agreed to issue the Dutchman a license this past October.
Yvel will use that license for the first time in a main-card bout with Junior Dos Santos (9-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) at Saturday's "UFC 108: Evans vs. Silva" event in Las Vegas.
And White also believes that everyone deserves an opportunity to prove that past transgressions don't necessarily mean future problems.
"Listen, you guys know how I am," White said. "We all make mistakes. We'll see if [Yvel] learned from them."
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