Coker Not Optimistic About McKee/Freire Trilogy Despite “Close” Rematch

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Despite the choky quality of the featherweight rubric rematch betwixt A.J. McKee and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, Bellator President Scott Coker doesn’t judge a trilogy combat is “guaranteed.”

At Bellator 277 past Friday, 2 145-pound titans collided for the 2nd clip successful a year. Last July, McKee secured a spot astatine the planetary featherweight array erstwhile helium became the archetypal antheral to decision “Pitbull” since 2016. After 5 defenses, the Brazilian’s reign came to a adjacent acknowledgment to a guillotine choke astatine Bellator 263.

Off the backmost of his title and Grand Prix glory, and having extended his cleanable grounds to 18-0, McKee called retired the apical featherweights successful the UFC and claimed to beryllium the world’s champion astatine 145 pounds.

While helium had a accidental to further enactment that sentiment by adding different blemish to Freire’s awesome résumé, McKee fell abbreviated successful their rematch, losing a choky determination connected the judges’ scorecards. In doing so, the 27-year-old had the 0 connected his grounds removed.

Following the event, promotional kingpin Coker gave his take connected what’s since been a highly-debated contention and result. Like many, the South Korean-born American labeled the Bellator 277 main lawsuit arsenic “very close.”

“Listen, the judges saw it the mode they saw it and he’s the caller champ,” Coker said. “As acold arsenic I’m concerned, helium deserves it. I deliberation it was a precise adjacent fight. It was a method fight. And it’s not my occupation to justice – it’s for the judges and the authorities diversion committee to enactment that out, and that’s what happened. That’s what you saw. You saw the judges telephone the combat the mode they did. I did deliberation it was precise close. I was sitting astir immoderate of my friends and said, ‘What did you think?’ Half of them said A.J., fractional of them said ‘Pitbull.’ It was precise close.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Coker Unsure What’s Next For McKee & Freire

With their rivalry sitting level astatine 1 triumph apiece, it would look a trilogy bout is the logical adjacent step, particularly fixed however adjacent the rematch was. However, with McKee expressing a tendency to modulation to lightweight, it doesn’t look to beryllium that simple.

Coker shared that sentiment post-fight, claiming that portion he’d emotion to a publication a 3rd day betwixt the Brazilian and the American, it’s acold from guaranteed.

With that successful mind, the 59-year-old named 17-1 featherweight Ádám Borics, who’s riding a four-fight triumph streak successful the Bellator cage, arsenic a imaginable challenger for the archetypal defence of Freire’s 3rd reign connected the 145-pound throne.

“I’m going to spell backmost and ticker this combat and speech to my team,” Coker said. “But arsenic overmuch arsenic we’d emotion to spot a rematch, let’s spot however that goes. I can’t truly reply that question. If each parties privation to bash that, we mightiness bash it. But it’s not guaranteed. Adam Borics looked large against Mads Burnell (at Bellator 276 successful March) — he had a large performance. He had an astonishing fight, and we’ll see.”

Would you similar to spot A.J. McKee and Patricio Freire stock the cage for a 3rd time?