Bellator 188 Loses Headliner Due to Patricio Pitbull Injury

Patricio Pitbull will headline Bellator 188
Credit: Dave Mandel/

Friday’s Bellator 188 has lost a title fight, as Patricio Pitbull is off the card due to injury.

Bellator MMA is set to make the trip to Tel Aviv, Israel this week, but it will do so without its planned main event. A featherweight title fight between champ Patricio Freire (better known as Patricio Pitbull) and Daniel Weichel had been expected to top the Bellator 188 card. However, on Sunday, Freire announced he was hurt, releasing a lengthy statement on social media explaining his withdrawal.

I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform.

A couple months ago due to a training accident I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.

I’ve been doing physical therapy three times a day, I was lent a 25k dollars machine to sleep with every day, and although I wasn’t in my best condition I had no intention to pull out. In all my years in Bellator I only pulled out of a fight once due to a hand fracture.

Up until Wednesday the fight was 100% on. On Thursday came the doubt as one of the injuries aggravated. I deliberated with my team what to do up to 2am. I decided to test myself on Friday on my last sparring session. And then it became obvious I had no condition to step up in that cage. It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator.

I’ll have to take 30 days off and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.

See you all soon.

Pitbull’s absence means that Nohad Lahat, of Israel, and Jeremiah Labiano is the new main event, per a report by MMA Junkie. Patricio Pitbull’s brother Patricky had offered to step in and take his place against Weichel, but the promotion reportedly declined what would have been a catchweight bout.

Patricio Pitbull and Daniel Weichel had previously fought at Bellator 138 in 2015, with Pitbull successfully defending his featherweight title in that bout.

No word yet on when this bout might be rescheduled. Pitbull clearly has a timeframe in mind, whether Bellator MMA follows suit remains to be seen.