Monday, June 27, 2022

Patricio Pitbull: A.J. McKee Almost Finished Me

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is not nearly as convinced about the outcome of his Bellator 263 main event as the official results indicate.

The official result of the Bellator 263 main event records that A.J. McKee defeated Patricio Freire to become the Bellator featherweight grand prix winner and new featherweight champion via first-round technical submission. All in all, that reads pretty definitively and doesn’t leave much room for dispute after McKee locked in a standing guillotine that won him the fight.

Referee Mike Beltran concluded that Pitbull was unconscious, even though he was still standing, ala Jon Jones/Lyoto Machida UFC 140. Only unlike Machida, Pitbull did not collapse to the canvas upon release of the chokehold.

On the contrary, he offered a protest to Beltran after a delayed reaction. Pitbull offered his congratulations to the newly crowned 26-year-old champion McKee during his coronation, but at the Bellator 263 post-fight press conference, Pitbull hinted that he did not believe the outcome of the main event was quite as definitive as the history books will register.

“This night, he was great. He kicked my head, and he almost knocked me out, and he almost finished me (on) the same night,” Pitbull said. “So he was good. Congratulations. Now, he’s the champion.”

And about that exchange with McKee? According to the new champion, Pitbull didn’t just offer him words of congratulations. In fact, McKee claims that Pitbull told him that he was not truly rendered unconscious by the guillotine. When asked to confirm McKee’s account of their conversation, Pitbull did not deny it.

“Yeah, I watched the fight. I knew I wasn’t limp,” Pitbull said. “But I saw my hands like this [LOWERING LEFT ARM]. I was standing, but rules…that’s it. I fight through the end. That’s my mind.”

Both Scott Coker and A.J. McKee hinted at interest in having a rematch up at lightweight, where Pitbull remains the champion. McKee stated that he has no desire to continue fighting at featherweight and is looking to move up to lightweight for big fights. As the mass appeal of Bellator 263 established, it doesn’t come much bigger than Pitbull vs. McKee, so stay tuned and be on the lookout for a big fight announcement of a potential rematch between these two Bellator stalwarts one weight class higher.

Do you think A.J. McKee’s victory over Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 263 was a questionable stoppage?

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