The lineup for Bellator’s return to the airwaves later this month took a major hit this week when news surfaced stating featherweight champion Pat Curran had been forced to withdraw from his defense against Patricio Freire after suffering a broken orbital bone while training for the August 24 bout. The fight would have marked the first time Curran had put his divisional gold up for grabs after obtaining the belt by way of a brutal stoppage of Joe Warren. He is expected to miss several months as a result of the injury.
The card, Bellator 73, will now be headlined by a tournament final between bantamweights Marcos Galvao-Luis Nogueira and also feature Travis Wiuff-Attila Vegh in a light heavyweight bout to determine the division’s next top contender.
ESPN was first to report the 17-4 Warren’s condition, also obtaining a comment from the disappointed 24-year old who said, “It’s an incredibly frustrating injury, especially to happen so close to the fight, but these things happen. I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life, but injuries happen and once I heal up I’m going to continue to train and come back stronger than ever to defend the Bellator featherweight title.”
No word has surfaced on what Freire, who earned his title-shot with a 2011 tournament win, will do next. Daniel Straus is also in queue for a crack at the belt after emerging as the last featherweight standing in an eight-man field earlier this year.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR