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Patrício Freire praises Bellator for paying fighters amid pandemic: ‘They’re our friends’

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Bellator double champion Patricio Freire is glad the company is taking care of its athletes during the coronavirus pandemic.

MMA: APR 20 Bellator 178 Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The current Bellator featherweight and lightweight champion, Patricio Freire, is glad to be working for the company that he is.

After the coronavirus pandemic forced Bellator to cancel its cards due to the high contamination risk, the company did not take any time to come forward and announce they would pay affected athletes their win and show money for the missed bouts.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Freire, who was scheduled to defend the featherweight belt at Bellator 241 on March 13, praised the way the company treats its employees, calling them personal friends due to the treatment they receive.

“Bellator always had this personal way of treating all its athletes. They’re our friends. We know we’re their employees, but the treatment is always personal. Leandro Higo was supposed to fight on the same day as me, but his opponent did not make weight. He was supposed to receive only his show money for that, but since Bellator cancelled the card, they paid him his win money, too. No company does that. They went out of their way to do it. It was a very noble deed.”

Currently on a five-fight winning streak, Patricio Freire (30-4) bested Juan Archuleta via unanimous decision in his last outing, back in November 2019. Before that, ‘Pitbull’ scored victories over Michael Chandler, Emmanuel Sanchez, Daniel Weichel and Daniel Straus, with his last loss being a TKO loss due to injury to former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, back in August 2016.