It was to be expected that Patricio Freire would have some harsh words for Bellator when they passed him over for a shot at Daniel Straus in favor of giving Pat Curran a rematch. But, it's something of a surprise as to how harsh Feire is staying in his criticism. The season 9 tournament winner was lined up to fight Straus after the previous tournament winner Frodo Khasbulaev, was unable to compete. However, it appears that Bellator's desire to please their former champion Curran (and possibly their desire to re-install him as champ) is pushing all other contenders out of the picture. Freire spoke out a little over a week ago, but now he's released a second statement on Twitter to express his frustration at Bellator's matchmaking.
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 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 want to be respected when I am champion and I think Daniel Straus should get respect for what he achieved. How can I be motivated to fight if 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?
Judo Chop: Josh Thomson's Seamless Takedowns
Denied an unlikely title shot, Josh Thomson is now set to face former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson to reestablish himself as no. 1 contender. BE's striking specialist Connor Ruebusch breaks down the slick takedowns that could lead to a win.
Freire has every right to feel hard done by here. Bellator prided itself on the fast moving, highly competitive nature of its tournament structure for years, but recent business moves have started their steady slide into a more typical MMA promotional format. That format dictates that you give you "draws" more and better opportunities than the rest of your fighters. Pat Curran's title history now makes him a bigger asset to Bellator right now and they're in a position where they want to get the most out of that asset that they can. It's hard to know what this will mean for Freire. Bellator can't afford to release top talent right now, but they may not be paying him enough to stay quiet either. If he keeps making noise about his lack of opportunity they're going to have to address it.
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