Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire was not pleased to hear some of the trash talk directed at him by A.J. and Antonio McKee during the final moments of the pre-fight press conference for Bellator 263 on Thursday.
Freire and the McKee family fielded questions from the assembled media, with most of them being answered in a generally civil manner. That was until one question about disrespect was asked and sparked an exchange between Freire and McKee that nearly saw them come to blows days before they are scheduled to do so. Freire would leave the pre-fight press conference early, but caught up with Nolan King of MMA Junkie to respond to the contentious ending.
Freire said that the inclusion of performance-enhancing drug accusations and the mention of his family in the McKee family trash talk crossed the line.
“Things went south when he started to talk s—t about respect,” said Freire. “Everyone knows his father was saying to the media that I was on drugs. And after that, he said something about [how he] would beat me in front of my family. I will make him show some respect for them. The last one who talked s—t like this, I kicked his ass in less than a minute. Now, he deserves the same thing.”
Freire appeared to be irritated by comments made by Antonio last month during another press conference where he said that the only thing the McKee team is worried about ahead of the fight is the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing the fighters. The two-division champion was taken aback by those comments and turned the attention back to Antonio, who has his own notable MMA career and is currently signed to Bellator alongside his son.
“I don’t know, he has 60 [years] and he is stronger than me, so is he on drugs, too? Maybe? I don’t know what he wants. I am 34. F—k, man. I’m not 60 or 40. I’m a competitor and still a little bit fat. F—k, man. He’s afraid of what will happen.”
Freire and McKee do not have to wait much longer to meet each other inside of the cage as Bellator 263 takes place this Saturday. The fight signifies the end of the Featherweight World Grand Prix Tournament that began almost two years ago. Both men have dominated the competition on their way to the finals, but Freire is expecting to retain the featherweight championship and take home the $1 million prize.
He sends a final message to McKee before the fight.
“I’m going to kick his ass up,” said Freire.