Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks would like to apologize – not for his performance against Marcin Held on Friday evening at Bellator 145, but for some fight-week antics that quickly spiraled out of control.
"Earlier this week, I want to apologize to the fans, there was a lot of unprofessional things that took place during this fight week," Brooks said in his post-fight speech after defeating Held via unanimous decision.
While no official recap of the events between Brooks and the Freire brothers – Patricky and Patricio – has been given, a surveillance tape captured a scuffle Wednesday at the fighter hotel in St. Louis. While he has not seen the tape yet, Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said he plans to review the footage before making any further decisions for the fighters involved.
"There is a videotape," Coker said during the Bellator 145 post-fight press conference. "I have not had a chance to look at it yet, [but] I will be looking at it on Monday."
Police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made and no injuries were reported, a St. Louis Police Department spokesperson told MMA Fighting. Brooks wrote Wednesday on Twitter that the Freire brothers jumped him and that they were cowards. He posted a photo of a bloody shirt as well, but later deleted it. Patricio Freire tweeted that Brooks was the one who started the scuffle.
Regardless of what the videotape shows, Brooks expressed his disappointment for being associated with the activity at all.
"I want to apologize to them [the fans], because I played a big part in that [brawl]," Brooks said. "That should never happen, and we should represent this organization better than that. It was very unprofessional."
Prior to taking the mic to issue his apology, Brooks fought five rounds against a worthy challenger in Held, constantly avoiding a stream of leglock attacks en route to notching his second Bellator lightweight title defense. While Brooks largely controlled the action from top position, the win was anything but easy, largely due to an apparent knee injury sustained in the first round.
Held caused Brooks' knee to pop during a leglock attempt early on, forcing Brooks to abandon his gameplan and focus more on his wrestling and positional control for the rest of the fight.
"My coaches wanted me to start on the feet, and every time I would bounce or try to hit a pivot step, my knee would buckle," Brooks said. "I did what I had to do. You gotta be smart and take care of your body. Once I felt it buckle, I was like, 'I'm not going to risk a serious injury.'"