Patricio Pitbull is still processing his featherweight title loss to A.J. McKee at Bellator 263.
Finished for the first time in 17 years as a professional MMA fighter, Pitbull saw the undefeated star steal the 145-pound gold this past Saturday in Los Angeles, Calif., leaving him only with the lightweight strap. After marinating on the defeat for a few days, Pitbull opened up in an interview with MMA Fighting about the defeat and questioned the stoppage.
“I was never programmed to lose in any situation, but we know it’s possible that it happens,” Pitbull said. “But it’s like death, you know it will come one day but [at the same time] we don’t believe it will. Especially with a strike that I knew would come in the fight. I’ve watched his kicks and thought to myself and told my coaches, ‘It’s so telegraphed, he opens himself completely. I’ll catch him right there.’ We trained that over and over again at a higher speed and executed it perfectly in the gym, but the kick came in the fight and that happened.”
Pitbull said his mistake was ducking to the wrong side since he expected a punch instead. The head kick rocked the Brazilian, who went down after eating an uppercut. He managed to get back to his feet, but McKee secured a guillotine choke. Referee Mike Beltran stopped the contest at the 1:57 mark after McKee informed him that the champion was out.
“I never felt I was out,” Pitbull said. “My eyes were seeing everything that was happening. I was like, ‘F*ck, was I out? How did I not notice that?”
Pitbull only watched the replay back in the locker room, and he agreed he seemed out, ruling it a “fair” stoppage. Days later, however, he said he was sent a video that allegedly shows his left arm going up at the exact same moment his right arm appears to go limp.
Watch the sequence below. The moment Pitbull mentions comes in at the 2:53 mark.
“The angle that the referee has is the same one we saw on TV, and you can’t see my other arm moving,” he said. “So basically I lost in a guillotine when I wasn’t out nor I tapped. But I don’t know, man. I don’t want to be a sore loser, but it’s a weird feeling. I don’t know how to explain.
“I recognize that the kid landed a really beautiful kick, a ruthless sequence that knocked me down, I got up, [and] that guillotine that was locked, but I didn’t feel like I slept, and everybody saw I didn’t tap. It happens. Congratulations. This title will come back.“
Still a bit “bewildered” since the defeat, Pitbull doesn’t know if he will attempt to appeal the result with the California State Athletic Commission using that said video as evidence that he wasn’t out, but “doesn’t want to be a sore loser” either.
That said, he added, “[McKee] said in a recent interview that I would be out in two seconds more, so he’s also saying I wasn’t out.”
One thing is for sure: Pitbull wants a rematch with the first man to stop him in MMA. But he wants it to happen at featherweight. The Brazilian also holds the Bellator lightweight gold, but feels it’s only fair to make it in the same weight class.
“He has no fights at 155 [pounds],” Pitbull said. “The fact he beat me at 145 maybe doesn’t put him ahead of the other fighters that are working year after year for a shot at the lightweight belt. He beat me at 145 – the rightful rematch would be at 145. This fight happening at 155 is something I don’t want.
“I fought in his hometown, in his timezone, with American referees. Which advantage would they give me in return? Why would I give him the rematch at 155? Or they want to make this rematch [at 155] so he takes both golds? I don’t know. It’s tough. I haven’t thought too much about it yet. Everything changed in my life.”
Pitbull’s coach, Eric Albarracin, said during the the post-fight press conference Los Angeles that the rematch should take place on Pitbull’s tome turf in Brazil. Yet, the former champ-champ doesn’t believe Bellator would ever do it.
“I would love to come here and say I think it would happen, but deep in there I don’t think so,” he said. “I heard that Bellator negotiated with a few Brazilian businessmen [about a card in Brazil] and didn’t come to a deal. Bellator didn’t want to or didn’t believe it would make sense for them, etc. I think it’s highly unlikely. I’ve lost hope a long time ago.
“I’ve wished that for many years. Brazil has many [stars in Bellator], Cris Cyborg, I had two belts, and Douglas Lima. Lyoto [Machida] has had some success as well, my brother [Patricky Pitbull], Wanderlei [Silva], and they didn’t do it. I don’t think it’s likely to happen now.”
With his seven-fight winning streak snapped in the featherweight grand prix final, Pitbull wouldn’t be surprised if Bellator opts against an immediate rematch.
“I don’t even know if Bellator has that intention [to book it],” Pitbull said. “I spent five years with the belt, and the company, fans, challengers and media got tired. It was always the same thing, ‘Pitbull is the champion again, he’s the champion again, he’s defended again, he’s defended again.’ And now the undefeated guy bred by Bellator is there, he beat the [No. 1] pound-for-pound and took the title. Will they give me an immediate rematch? Honestly, I don’t think so. I think it makes sense, but I don’t think they will do it.”