Bellator 249 took a late hit in the form of its lightweight co-main event between Patricky “Pitbull” and Jaleel Willis. .
Mike Mazzulli of the Mohegan Tribal Athletic Commission made the announcement in the Bellator media room. According to the official, Freiere was removed from the card due to an undisclosed illness unrelated to COVID-19 or his weight cut.
He was ruled unfit to compete inside the Mohegun Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“Patricky ‘Pitbull’ was removed form the card this evening for an illness unrelated to COVID-19 and/or the weight cut,” the official said. “For the safety of the fighter, we of course felt it was necessary to remove him. He will not be fighting tonight.”
Heavyweights Steve Mowry and Shawn Teed will move up from the featured prelim to the main card. A lightweight bot between Saad Awad and Mandel Nallo will kick off the card at 10 p.m. ET. Mowry and Teed will follow.
A bantamweight bout between Ricky Bandejas and Leandro Higo will be slotted in as the co-main event. The women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” will defend her title in the main event against Arlene Blencowe.
Freire won seven of his last eight victories. This was supposed to be his first return to the Bellator cage in over a year after three cross-over fights with Rizin.
Willis was set to make his Bellator debut. The former LFA welterweight champion is currently on a four-fight win streak. Bellator officials told Nolan King of MMA Junkie, both fighters will receive compensation.