As if all of the UFC main event cancellations weren’t enough, Bellator MMA just lost its headliner for this week’s card in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Reigning featherweight champion Patricio Freire, better known as “Patricio Pitbull,” will be unable to defend his title against Daniel Weichel on Thursday. Bloody Elbow’s Ram Gilboa reported the news on Sunday. Weichel has also been removed from the card, so the new main event is the original co-main between Noad Lahat and Jeremiah Labiano.
Patricio released the following statement to MMA Fighting:
I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform.
A couple months ago due to a training accident I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.
I’ve been doing physical therapy three times a day, I was lent a 25k dollars machine to sleep with every day, and although I wasn’t in my best condition I had no intention to pull out. In all my years in Bellator I only pulled out of a fight once due to a hand fracture.
Up until Wednesday the fight was 100% on. On Thursday came the doubt as one of the injuries aggravated. I deliberated with my team what to do up to 2am. I decided to test myself on Friday on my last sparring session. And then it became obvious I had no condition to step up in that cage. It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator.
I’ll have to take 30 days off and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.
See you all soon.
Freire (26-4) memorably rallied from nearly getting knocked out to knock Weichel out back in June 2015. The Brazilian won the 145-pound title back through his guillotine choke win over rival Daniel Straus at Bellator 178 in April. Now that he’s champion again, the Brazilian is set for a highly-anticipated rematch with Germany’s Weichel (39-9), but obviously that will have to wait until next year.