Patricio "Pitbull" Freire will get the title shot he wants, but that doesn’t mean that he’s satisfied by the way he was treated by Bellator.
Bellator decided to give former champion Pat Curran an immediate rematch against Daniel Straus for the featherweight title on March 14, and "Pitbull" already made clear that he's not happy with their decision.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney explained he decided to give Curran the title fight basically because Freire fought too much in 2013, so he would have more time to get ready for a shot at the gold. Rebney later confirmed that Freire will fight for the title when he returns, but he never spoke to the Brazilian about it.
"I only know what’s on the internet, nobody called me," Freire told MMAFighting.com. "Bjorn said I’ll fight for the title next, that they just delayed my title shot. Not I have to wait for Straus vs. Curran to get my shot."
"Pitbull" doesn’t want some time off, and he’s willing to replace either Straus or Curran at Bellator 112 if any of them get hurt.
"I’ll keep training," he said. "If any of them get hurt, I can make the weight in 10 days. I never stopped training. I think I’ll fight for the title by the end of this semester. So it’s time to train and focus."
Freire is 9-2 under the Bellator banner with three tournament finals, but this could be the last time he ever fights in a featherweight GP. "Pitbull", who beat the current champion via decision back in 2011, won’t rule out leaving the promotion when his contract ends.
"I had a conversation with Bellator before they announced the fight, but they had some conditions that I didn’t accept, so they announced Straus vs. Curran," he said. "They offered me a new contract extension, but I would only sign it if it was good for me. When they gave Curran the title shot, I was upset and the conversation was over.
"I have three more fights in my contract, and I’ll do what’s best for me when it’s over," he continued. "I know that Bellator can chose what they think was better for them. I’ll do the same and think on what’s best for me. I can sign with Bellator if it’s good for me. If it’s not the best option, I won’t sign.
"I hold several records in the featherweight division at Bellator, so I know I deserve a better contract. If Bellator makes me happy, there’s no reason I will turn my back to them. But I’ll think about me first."
Disappointed with the promotion, "Pitbull" might put himself in a position that he criticized in the past. The Brazilian called Eddie Alvarez "stupid" for wanting to leave Bellator for the UFC. Seven months later, he’s willing to take this fight to the court if needed in order to get a better deal for his career -- inside or outside the Bellator cage.
"I always defended Bellator and had strong words about other promotions, but after this situation I had with them I’ll put myself in the first place," he said. "I got married, I’m starting a family. I’m fighting for 10 years. I can’t waste time.
"I have one of the best records in this division, and I can’t let Bellator take what’s mine. What happened was ridiculous, nonsense."
If "Pitbull" signs a new deal with Bellator when his contract expires, only time will tell. He may leave the promotion in 2015, but he wants the title first.
"I was really sad," he said. "I had Bellator as a family outside of Brazil. I always saw how the president (Rebney) liked me, but when it was time to be fair, they told me to wait.
"They want Curran as the champion. If they don’t want me as the champion, they’ll have the champion they don’t want because I’m working hard to win that title."