The now former Bellator featherweight champion has nothing but praise for A.J. McKee’s performance in his latest title fight, but cannot say the same about the stoppage. At Bellator 263, Patricio Freire was rocked early into the first round by a head kick and then submitted via standing guillotine shortly after. However, the Brazilian did not agree with the referee’s decision to end the bout there.
In an interview with Ag Fight, ‘Pitbull’ does admit that McKee had hurt him in the fight, but does not remember blacking out or tapping from the guillotine. Although the replay angle shows Patricio’s arm going limp, the former champion believes the perspective might not be the best one to determine whether or not he was in fact out.
“That was a shot I was training to avoid, but he was fortunate enough to throw a combination which puts the kick on the same side as the last hand strike. He threw a right jab, a straight left and a kick on the same side. That got me right from the start of the fight. I was rocked and he threw a sequence of punches and an upper and I hit the mat. He tried to win by celebrating, putting his arms in the air, I called him out on it. On my way up. I didn’t go for his legs and he grabbed my neck and squeezed it. Once again he calls the ref and tells him I’m asleep. But I didn’t go to sleep. I congratulate him on the win, he was ruthless. He made me make a miskake I don’t make. I felt like I didn’t go to sleep. i didn’t tap, but that happened.”
“When I was in the cage, I wanted to see the replay to show I didn’t go to sleep.” Patricio continued. “The replay we watched was the one where the angle shows the referee moving my right arm and it’s limp. But yesterday I watched it from a different angle. That arm is limp, but the other one is going up to protect my chin. So I’m moving. I didn’t go to sleep. To top it off, A.J. said in an interview that I’d have been asleep in two more seconds. So he admits I didn’t go to sleep. I don’t want to be a sore loser, but I don’t want something unfair to happen to me. I’m pretty confused.”
Before losing to McKee, Patricio (32-5) was on a seven-fight winning streak, with four finishes, including victories over former champions like Daniel Straus, Michael Chandler and Juan Archuleta, among others. The 34-year-old’s last loss prior to A.J. happened in August 2016, when he suffered a TKO defeat due to injury against former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson.