Bellator MMA recently sent out a press release announcing that the organization's featherweight champion Daniel Straus will fight former champion Pat Curran at Bellator 112.
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire was incensed.
Curran beat Straus in 2009. but lost a decisive unanimous decision, and his title, to him just in November. Meanwhile, Freire won the featherweight tournament at Bellator 108 in November - his second tourney win - and beat Straus in 2011. He lost in a title shot to Curran a year ago via Split Decision, but has been on a 4-0 tear since, with three KOs and the aforementioned tournament win.
Professional MMA is not like regular amateur or professional sports. An NFL team doesn't have a better chance to get into the Superbowl simply because they have more fans. But sometimes in MMA, matchmaking is done to put asses in seats.
However, Bellator trumpets that that is not the case, and on occasion has taken issue with rivals for considering draw over talent in matchmaking.
"Bellator’s founder & CEO, Bjorn Rebney, is an experienced fighting sports and entertainment executive with a deep commitment to the purity and integrity of the sport of MMA and its athletes," read a recent press release. "Bellator’s core philosophy is that title shots should be earned, not given. This belief gave rise to Bellator’s real sport, tournament-based format, which gives Bellator’s tournaments a true playoff feel that keeps the sport true and distances itself from the subjective side of fighting sports found in organizations that utilize a matchmaking/casting formula."
Thus Patricky was all the more upset. Today he took his concerns to Twitter.
Patricio Freire @PatricioPitbull
Never in my entire career have I felt so disrespected and disappointed. @BellatorMMA announces their tournament brackets and in all of them they only have the champion, on the Featherweight one they have @PatCurranMMA as well. I don't have anything against Curran himself, what I don't like is the clear way he's being favored. I have all the desire in the world to fight and beat him again, not letting it to the judges this time. The issue is not this one. It's how the entire division is overlooked because of him. What is fair is fair, the only ones who can fight for Bellator's Featherweight belt are me and Frodo, if Frodo can't, then it's me. But the disrespect now goes beyond just the Featherweight division. Why is @kongo4real not there? Why is @MikeChandlerMMA not there? @PhenomLima and @RickHawnMMA will define the champion, I get that. But why But why is Curran worth of being on the image and the other challengers aren't? And why do you have it like the tournament winner will fight the winner of @DanielStraus vs Curran? There is a line and it's being ignored. And what about your champion? Daniel Straus deserves respect. I miss the time when Bellator's "title shots are earned, not given" were true. Also I miss the time when champions were respected. I know the people I fight for and I have defended all these years want me to lose? How would you feel if you were me?
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