Reigning Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull has fought for the final time this year. The veteran of the sport underwent surgery on his back that will keep him out of action until 2024 at the earliest.
Bellator Champ Patricio Pitbull Out After Surgery
Patricio Pitbull, the reigning Bellator featherweight champion, underwent cervical spine surgery this past weekend, according to a report by MMA Fighting.
Pitbull, who suffered his first knockout loss at Bellator X Rizin 2 this past month, is expected to be out until 2024 at the earliest.
“I was feeling this pressure when I got hit in the fights, I was feeling my arms and legs weak and numb,” Pitbull said in a release from his team. “I avoided surgery because once you do it there’s no coming back, and there were risks involved, like not returning to fighting again.
“I was very conservative and paid the price. I had never lost two in a row nor got knocked out in 19 years as a professional. My only way out was doing the surgery.”
Patricio Pitbull To Be Cleared In Six Months
The surgery, performed by Dr. Marco Moscatelli in Natal, Brazil, is said to have gone well. He is expected to be cleared to fight in six months as he looks to snap a two-bout losing skid.
Along with the defeat to Chihiro Suzuki on short notice in Japan, Pitbull also fell to Sergio Pettis for the bantamweight belt. It is the first time he has lost two straight in mixed martial arts.
Bellator has yet to announce if an interim champion will be crowned in the featherweight division or if they will wait for his return.
“I thank Dr. Marco and his team,” Pitbull said. “Post-surgery was great. I feel way better and motivated to have my full recovery and return to training as soon as possible.”
A.J. McKee, who himself was forced out of a recent event with staph infection, won the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix in 2021. He later dropped the title back to Pitbull in a rematch last year.
Video: Patricio PItbull Born And Bred