Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is not a happy camper. And he’s threatening to leave Bellator because of it.
On the surface, things seem to be okay; “Pitbull” recently won the 145-pound Bellator tournament, and will soon face off against champion Pat Curran, after Curran derailed Daniel Strauss’ championship run just a few weeks ago. But, as Freire recently told MMAFighting.com, although he’s excited to fight for the belt, things aren’t always as they seem.
“Thanks God this dream is back in my head,” Freire told MMAFighting.com. “I had forgotten about (the title) already. I had given up on being Bellator champion, but I still have three fights left on my contract, and I have to do them. This is a fight that I really want. I feel I won that and I’m really happy to fight for the title now. I want to be world champion and this is my time.”
The two men had met before, with Curran winning via split-decision, in 2013. Like most fighters who come out on the losing end of a close decision, “Pitbull” not only feels that he won that fight, but plans on raising the bar even further for their rematch, which takes place on the Bellator 121 card, June 6.
“Our first fight was a high-level, beautiful boxing match, but I can do more,” he said. “I can work with kicks and use my ground game. I want to knock Pat Curran out to earn the respect I deserve. I want to be feared in my division.”
Deep down, “Pitbull” still feels disrespected by Bellator, who saw fit to give Pat Curran an immediate rematch at Daniel Strauss first, even though Freire had won the tournament and was next in line for the title shot.
“I didn’t forgive them, the wound is still open,” he said. “You can’t erase the past, it left scars. Bellator disrespected me and they will have to be really generous to me to repair it. They will have to give me better things to make me forget about it.”
“I will turn 27, and I have had many fights in my career. I did a lot of things the world didn’t see,” he continued. “I will do anything I have to do for my career. I can’t wait much longer. If Bellator tells me it’s happening now, I will stay (in Bellator). If they don’t give me what I deserve, I will leave for the promotion that offers me a better opportunity.
The most important thing is mutual respect. I respected Bellator, but when it was time for them to respect me back, they gave preference to their guy. I don’t want to be their guy, I just want them to give me what I deserve. I was the one who did more for Bellator, so I should be the one who makes more money in there.”
Adding salt to Freire’s wounds is the way Bellator seems to be empowering their ex-UFC fighters, such as Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson and Cheick Kongo.
“I feel devalued,” he said. “I grew up a lot as a fighter in Bellator, but I also helped them grow as a company. I’m a big name in Bellator, and I can’t accept someone coming from another promotion and having more power than me.”
Whether he wins the title or not, this looks to be the start of an interesting year for Freire.