Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire: If Bellator doesn’t believe in me, they should let me go
In an organization where “title shots are earned, not given,” Patricio FreireÂ is confused as to why Pat Curran was granted an immediate rematch with new featherweight champion Daniel Straus. And to be honest, he’s a little bit angry, too.
“I’m very disappointed with the whole situation,” Freire told MMAjunkie through a translator. “I’m very upset with the organization. I’ve knocked out three of my past four opponents.
“I lost to Curran in a split decision, so I felt like I deserved to get back in there and have another shot at him. Instead, I had to go back to normal fights and the tournament, but I knocked out three of my next four opponents and feel like I’ve done enough again to get the shot now.”
Freire (21-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA)Â was a Season 2 featherweight tournament finalist, but he fell short in the tourney final Â against Joe Warren. Freire returned in Season 4, and he tore through Georgi Karakhanyan, Wilson Reis and Straus en route to claiming that tournament title. However, he came up short against then-champ Curran in a January 2013 bid for the belt.
Undeterred, Freire fought four more times in 2013, knocking off Jared Downing in a non-tourney fight before moving into the Season 9 bracket and taking out Diego Nunes, Fabricio GuerreiroÂ and Justin Wilcox to claim his second tourney win.
He thought a title shot would come next, and the promotion actually approached him about potentially reworking his contract. That’s when he found out Bellator officials had elected instead to give Curran (19-5 MMA, 9-2 BMMA), who lost the title in a clear-cut decision to Straus (22-4 MMA, 9-1 BMMA)Â in November, a rematch at Bellator 112 on March 14.
Freire was told he could hang out and wait for the winner of the Straus vs. Curran fight, but that doesn’t sit right with the 26-year-old slugger, especially after the promotion failed to meet his demands in the proposed new deal.
“They said I would be fighting the winner of Straus vs. Curran III, but I question why that fight has to happen first,” Freire said. “I told them I should get the shot, and then they just said that’s the direction the company is going and for me to just keep doing what I’m doing. Nothing they do right now is going to make right what they have done to me.”
While admittedly frustrated, Freire said he will stay in the gym and continue to train. But he hopes Bellator officials will reconsider their plans for the featherweight division and either right what he sees as a wrong or consider an entirely different alternative.
“Ever since I started training, I never stopped unless I was seriously injured,” Freire said. “Nothing is going to keep me out of the gym, but I’m really upset at this decision. Still, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing and prove I’m the best featherweight in the world.
“I’m upset at the whole thing not going the way I thought I was going. I’ve got faith to keep training and keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully everything will work out. But if Bellator doesn’t believe in me â€“ if they don’t want me to be champion and to do things right â€“ I’d like to just ask them to let me out of my contract.”
For more onÂ Bellator 112, stay tuned to theÂ MMA RumorsÂ section of the site.