There might not be gold on the line officially, but Patricky Pitbull (25-11) believes his Bellator 301 fight against Alexander Shabliy is for the organization’s 155lb title regardless.
The promotion’s ongoing lightweight grand prix was thrown for a loop when news broke that champ Usman Nurmagomedov tested positive for banned substances. Nurmagomedov has been handed a six-month suspension, and his tournament semifinal win over Brent Primus was overturned to a No Contest.
What hasn’t happened, at least not yet, is Nurmagomedov being stripped of his title. It remains to be seen what direction the promotion will go, given the Russian fighter tested positive for prescription medication, and was able to present at least some evidence of such, resulting in a lesser suspension with the California State Athletic Commission.
“For me, this fight is gonna be for the title. So I believe, it don’t [matter] if [the belt isn’t there]. The rules are the rules,” Pitbull said during Wednesday’s Bellator 301 press conference, with media outlets including Cageside Press on hand. “If he [Usman Nurmagomedov] tested positive for drugs, he needs relinquish the belt. And go out of the tournament. It’s an opportunity for another fighter.”
“For me, it’s a bad thing for all fighters in this organization, because he’s still in the tournament, he’s still with the belt. That’s my opinion.”
The Brazilian suggested that Nurmagomedov lingering as champ might have something to do with popularity. “He has good media, he has close to one million followers on Instagram. I don’t know [about his following on] Twitter.”
Pitbull, older brother of Patricio Pitbull, is tied for the Bellator MMA knockout record, and is coming off a leg kick TKO of RIZIN star Roberto Satoshi de Souza.
“Another nickname of mine is the King of Knockouts,” Pitbull exclaimed. “I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu but I love to strike. I can do jiu-jitsu with [Roberto] Satoshi [de Souza] but I know his striking isn’t much good. So I used the easy way.”
Bellator 301 takes place Friday, November 17, 2023 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. Patricky Pitbull takes on Alexander Shabliy in a main card match-up, in a five-round lightweight grand prix semi-final.