In a bittersweet revelation, Patricky "Pitbull" Freire, the former Bellator lightweight champion, has shared his mixed feelings about the possibility of a Bellator sale to rival company PFL.
Having been a part of the Bellator family since 2011, Pitbull expressed sadness at the prospect of seeing the organization's name fade away, owing to the strong bonds he has formed with the people there over the past decade.
"The friendships I’ve made in the organization for more than 10 years… It’s also sad because we don’t know how the treatment would be [at PFL]," Pitbull admitted during MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. "The treatment my brother and I have in Bellator is unique."
However, the Brazilian veteran also sees a silver lining in a potential merger. With a Bellator-PFL union, fresh and exciting matchups could emerge, especially in the talent-rich 155-pound division. Pitbull views these new challenges with optimism, acknowledging the opportunity to face opponents from PFL.
"[The sale] is sad because you wonder how it’s going to be, but as for the challenges, I think that’s good. I can do different fights, good fights against opponents from [PFL]. I’m already thinking about them. Let’s see how that goes," he said.
Pitbull did express concern about the possibility of facing training partners and close friends, referring to an incident at PFL where Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio had to fight each other.
"To fight a brother that has the same dream of yours, that’s something I don’t want to happen," he admitted.
Currently preparing for his upcoming main event at Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN 2, where he will face Roberto Satoshi, Pitbull remains focused on the task at hand. If victorious, he looks ahead to the grand prix semifinal, where he is set to take on Alexandr Shabliy, whom he considers a "gigantic" challenge.
Should he advance to the tournament final, Pitbull envisions a rematch with Usman Nurmagomedov, the man who dethroned him and claimed the Bellator title in November 2021.
While the potential Bellator-PFL merger remains uncertain, Pitbull's unwavering determination to face new challenges and his respect for the sport's integrity make him a true ambassador of mixed martial arts, regardless of the organization he represents in the future.