Pat Curran has withdrawn from his next title defense. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Bellator MMA featherweight champion Pat Curran will not defend his title as expected next month.
Bellator officials Wednesday announced that Curran sustained a severe right calf strain in training and has been forced to withdraw from a planned rematch with Patricio Freire at Bellator 121.
“I’ve been training incredibly hard for this fight by pushing myself to my absolute limits in training,” Curran stated in a release. “Unfortunately, during some conditioning drills, I suffered a bad calf strain that has halted my training for one of the biggest fights of my career. I have my sights set on getting back into the cage as soon as possible, with July in mind, but I want to be 100 percent healthy heading into that cage to smash ‘Pitbull.’”
Bellator 121 takes place June 6 at Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and airs live on Spike TV. No other bouts have been announced so far, but a full fight card is expected to be released shortly.
Curran, 26, has won seven of his last eight bouts. The Illinois native relinquished his belt to Daniel Straus last November but regained the gold in an immediate rematch, submitting Straus with just 14 seconds remaining in a “Fight of the Year” nominee this past March.
Freire previously met Curran in January 2013 but came up short in a split decision at Bellator 85. “Pitbull” rebounded from the defeat by posting four straight victories and winning the Season 9 draw, topping Justin Wilcox last fall to claim his second tournament title.