Pitbull-Weichel Rematch Overshadowed By PED Controversy

A few weeks ago, Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire—otherwise known simply as “Patricio Pitbull”—took to Twitter to accuse his latest challenger, Daniel Weichel, of abusing performance enhancing drugs.

Specifically, he felt that the degree to which Weichel transformed his body to the point he became big and shredded in three weeks, especially as a 33 year old veteran with 16 years as a professional fighter. Weichel has been insistent that he’s clean and vociferously anti-PEDs as well, but it’s still clearly on the champion’s mind going into their fight this Saturday in Rome, Italy.

“There’s no way to achieve that by just training normally,” he told FIGHT SPORTS through an interpreter. “He must have used something. And if he didn’t—I think he did—but if he didn’t, I think he should stop fighting and sell whatever else he’s taking [if it’s not banned], because he’s gonna be rich.”

While this has become a major topic of conversation going into Saturday’s fight, Pitbull doesn’t think it’s distracting him. “It’s an issue to him,” he said, referring to Weichel. “To me, it shows a spiritual weakness in him, because he didn’t think he was good enough to beat me fairly, so he had to resort to cheating in order to step in the cage against me. So that makes me think that he’s weak.” Asked if he thought that had anything to do with how their first fight went (Weichel rocked Pitbull, only to squander the opportunity and quickly get knocked out on a counter), the Brazilian fighter got very loud and boisterous while giving a long answer, which was translated as follows:

I’d like to apologize to Bellator, because it’s good to have an organization that’s challenging the monopoly of the UFC, but we don’t have safe politics regarding drug testing. It shouldn’t happen in an organization that’s so big, so I think we’re failing in that effort. Daniel Weichel, in 20 days [he looks like that]? He isn’t clean. It’s not correct. We’re only tested on fight week, before the fight or after the fight, and that’s it. It’s perfectly possible for these guys like Weichel and [Michael] Chandler to cheat. And everyone knows. People talk. If they’re using something, we can see; if they show off their bodies, how they are right now.

I, for one, I love to see Vitor Belfort, full of steroids, knocking people out and fighting like he’s 18 years old, instead of him now with an old man body and unable to do anything inside the cage. So if we’re going to let people use anything? Let everyone be able to use it. We know people are using, these guys like Chandler or Weichel pretending they are clean. There’s no way a man of Daniel Weichel’s age would have that type of body, especially after 20 days.

If you look at photos of me when I was a kid, I already had an athletic body, but if you go and check my photos now, I believe I’m fat right ow. You’ll see some fat in my body. ‘m 31, so my body’s already different, my hormones aren’t the same as they used to be, and then you have a guy like Daniel Weichel ripped like that? He’s more ripped than Conor McGregor, who’s using a lot of things too, the bastard. They have to enforce the rules, make it a strict program so these guys are caught. They are cheating. But if you are going to let people use, if there’s any possibility of people going above the rules so they can’t get caught? Let everybody use so we can on be on the same standard.

So, with all of that out of the way, just how does Patricio think the first Weichel fight relates to the rematch this Saturday? “I learned I can’t lose focus for even a second,” he said. “I don’t think he’s a great technician, but he has a very powerful right hand and knee, so I need to be focused on every moment of the fight so I don’t get caught.” As for his allegation that Weichel is mentally weak, that’s a criticism that’s often been thrown at former champion Daniel Strauss (he has a tendency to dive into submissions or give them up late) who Patricio has fought a whopping four times, going 3-1. The champion sees them differently, though: “About Daniel Strauss, he shows some weakness in fights, but at the same time, he’s got a lot of heart. I wouldn’t call him mentally weak: He’s shown weakness, but he shows a lot of heart in his fights and a lot of championship mentality.”

Strauss’s name and his number of fights with Pitbull ecoming up also brings to mind the degree of repetition that has been seen in the Bellator Featherweight Championship picture for most of its existence. Since Pat Curran’s brutal stoppage of Joe Warren in March of 2012, only Curran, Strauss, and Pitbull have held the title, with both picking up two reigns and only Weichel (in June 2015 and this coming weekend) and Shahbulat Shamhalaev (in April 2013) getting the other title shots. If all goes well Saturday, Patricio wants Emmanuel Sanchez as his next challenger, if just for something different. It was a sentiment he expressed pretty clearly: “No more rematches.”

This article has been edited to clarify two lines from Freire after his translator reached out.

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