Last week, Scott Coker appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour where he broke some Bellator news. One of the key pieces of news that he announced was that Patricio Pitbull (32-5) would be vacating the lightweight title to stay at featherweight.
His brother, Patricky Pitbull, would be fighting in November for the vacant lightweight title. This decision has been rumored for some time, but it wasn’t official until last week. Patricky is one of the top lightweights but with his brother holding the title, he was blocked.
Now with Patricio Pitbull giving up the Bellator title, Patricky will have his chance. Pitbull gave up the title in order to stay at his natural weight class of 145 pounds. He’s focused on getting a rematch with the champion, AJ McKee (18-0).
McKee and Pitbull met at Bellator 263 at the end of July. They met in the finals of the Featherweight Grand Prix with the title on the line. McKee completely dominated the fight and submitted Pitbull in the first round.
Given the career success of Pitbull in Bellator, everyone assumed that a rematch between the two would be next. However, the debate was around which weight class it would take place at. They fought at featherweight, but there was an option to run it back at 155.
Coker told Helwani that Bellator is currently working booking the rematch between McKee and Pitbull. I don’t disagree with the booking and in fact, I believe it’s the right fight to make. However, I don’t like the decision to do it at featherweight.
AJ McKee has massive star potential for Bellator. He’s fought his entire career with the promotion and his star is just now really starting to shine. Yes, they didn’t fight long in the first fight, but I think it’s safe to say that McKee will be a sizeable favorite when they fight again.
If I was in the Bellator front office, I would have tried to make the fight happen at lightweight. McKee wants to move up eventually and this would’ve given him the opportunity to become the promotion’s champ-champ.
On one hand, I understand the logic of having them fight at 145 again. Pitbull was the greatest featherweight in the promotion’s history and he’s really never been a lightweight. He simply moved up to fight Michael Chandler and avenge a loss that his brother had.
If McKee defeats Pitbull again at 145, he will have taken over as the promotion’s greatest featherweight and then he can do whatever he wants. I understand both sides of the issue, I just wish Bellator would’ve booked the champion vs champion rematch. It’s the bigger fight with more on the line.