Patricio Pitbull wants shot at UFC if Bellator, PFL sale happens

Patricio "Pitbull" Freire would like a shot at UFC but only if Bellator is no longer an option.
Patricio Pitbull
Patricio Pitbull / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The MMA community is waiting patiently to hear if Bellator MMA is going to be sold to PFL or if the promotion will go under entirely. The potential big sale could impact many fighters and employees as many could lose their jobs.

Patricio "Pitbull" Freire is one of those people. Freire built his career in Bellator and is widely considered to be one of the best fighters in the history of the promotion. He's a former two-division champion and has long since been a staple of the Bellator cage.

But, he's still eyeing the ever-elusive UFC ... if his time in Bellator is up.

“Well, I’m 36 years old, I’m the biggest record holder in the organization I love,” Freire said during a podcast done in Portugues. “It looks like Bellator is really going to be taken over by another organization. I will fulfill my agreement, I will see what proposals will be on the table, but I think my career deserves a trip to the UFC.”

Freire is coming off a loss to Sergio Pettis, though the loss, the attempt was admirable as he went down to 135 pounds in hopes of being the first fighter to hold belts in three different divisions.

And he doesn't want that performance to be his last.

“Even more so knowing that if I emerge as Bellator and PFL champion, we will come close to having a great fight in our first fight in this new organization. I don’t rule out [a departure from Bellator], I see it positively, I think now is the time, it’s the only time. I didn’t want to say goodbye to Bellator like that, but I understand the moment.”

Patricio Pitbull is out until 2024 recovering from spinal surgery

In early August, Freire revealed that he was undergoing surgery on his cervical spine Monday to repair a herniated C6/C7 disc and would be out the rest of the year. His expected return time is March 2024.

“I had been feeling this compression when I received the blows in fights, and I had been feeling numbness and weakness in my arms and legs,” Freire said, in Portuguese (h/t MMA Junkie). “I avoided this surgery because once you’ve done it, there’s no going back and there were risks involved, like not fighting again. I ended up being too conservative and paid the price. I had never lost two fights in a row and had never been knocked out in 19 years as a pro. My only way out was to have the surgery.”

There's no telling if Bellator will still exist at that time, or in what capacity.