Patricio Pitbull underscored his dislike of rival Michael Chandler ahead of Bellator 221, vowing to kill his opponent in the cage at Thursday’s press conference.
Chicago, IL — Consider these two lines of thought: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And then, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. It’s hard to tell which column Patricio Pitbull falls in, with his continued efforts to get under the skin of rival Michael Chandler ahead of Bellator 221.
Pitbull was at it again Thursday, during the Bellator 221 pre-fight press conference. Bellator CEO Scott Coker, early in the proceedings, called them “icons of this company,” saying he was “very proud to host this fight.” Pitbull, properly Patricio Freire, is moving up in weight to challenge Chandler for the lightweight title. Pitbull already owns the featherweight belt in the promotion, but he doesn’t seem interested in becoming a champ-champ. He just wants to get his hands on Chandler. As far as being an icon, or at least acting like one, it seems Patricio could care less.
Chandler, for his part, is simply focused on the fight, as a fight. He’s not thinking about being the Bellator GOAT, or being in a grudge match. “I’m not really thinking about that, honestly. All I can think about is being the GOAT that night. That’s all I can think about, to be honest with you.”
“I want to go out there and have a phenomenal performance. Chicago is an amazing city, I’ve already spent hours, almost a full day down here. It’s a beautiful city, not far from my home town of St. Louis, Missouri.” The crowds are going to come in for him, and will see a mid-west boy reign supreme, Chandler added.
“You can get caught up in the long game, the long ball, legacy type of stuff,” Chandler cautioned. “I respect Pitbull for a lot of reasons, for what he’s been able to accomplish, from where he came from, to where he is today. And I look forward to stopping him on Saturday night.”
The respect is not mutual. “I don’t care about the legacy, belt, nothing. Just him,” Pitbull said moments later. Sitting on the other side of the podium, Scott Coker between them, Patricio added that “after he knocked my brother out, he talked sh*t about my family. And now he’s going to pay for that. That’s it. You’ll see.”
“I’m going to kill him.” The threat of death is rarely used in MMA, but this is far from a first. Jon Jones infamously said something similar to Daniel Cormier prior to their first meeting. Those types of comments always blow up in the press, but Chandler wasn’t phased.
“Who cares, man. This is hand-to-hand combat, this is twenty-five minutes in the cage, I’ve done it twenty-five times. I’m ready to go out there and do exactly what I did to his brother to him,” Chandler responded when asked about Pitbull’s statement. “I could care less who steps across the cage.”
However, the lightweight champ would add that “this one’s exciting, though, because very few times in my career have I had somebody who allegedly has this kind of animosity.” As to why it’s alleged, Chandler added that “I think this is the way he motivates himself, this is the way he gets himself pumped up.”
For himself, Michael Chandler is simply “here to compete, I’m here to collect a paycheck, I’m here to provide for my family. He’s just another guy with two arms and two legs. He’s very good everywhere, I’m just better.”
And so the back-and-forth continued. Asked about Chandler feeling he was faking much of the talk, Pitbull replied “He think that? Okay, you will see.” Later, he reiterated that “it’s personal. Like I said, I don’t fight for the belt. Everyone’s talking about champ-champ, champ of two divisions. I don’t think about that. I don’t think of that. I only think about beating him. It’s personal.”
“It’s not personal for me,” countered Chandler. “I could care less. I have not lost one wink of sleep thinking about Patricio Pitbull.”
Instead he sees it all as self-promotion. “He only knows a couple of words in English, and he throws them out there,” Chandler said of the Brazilian. “It’s fight hype. His motivations are different than my motivations, and that’s fine, I respect that. I respect where he has come from, and where he is today. I just prefer Patricky’s approach. He’s a lot more quiet, he’s a lot more respectful. He’s the old bigger more wise more respectful brother. So Saturday, I’m going to put little brother in his place. And thankful for being a respectful man, Patricky.”
“Don’t worry, after the fight I will be nice with you,” Pitbull interjected. Chandler either didn’t hear or didn’t believe him. “What?” was his reply. “After I beat you, I will be nice with you,” Pitbull clarified. Chandler could only laugh. “Okay, good.”
As Pitbull pointed out, he’s a Brazilian speaking English (though he had an interpreter present to assist), and Chandler likely wouldn’t fare much better were he speaking Portuguese. Still, it’s the featherweight champ who is clearly the more fired up heading into Bellator 221. Looking to “kill” his rival.
Whether that helps or hinders him in the fight remains to be seen.
Watch the full Bellator 221 pre-fight press conference above!