Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is about to take part in one of the biggest fights in Bellator history. And he’s hoping that the playing field is level.
Already this year, there have been two high-profile fighters embroiled in drug testing controversies: UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and most recently, UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Jones caused a stir ahead of his comeback fight at UFC 232 in December when that event was moved from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area when the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to grant Jones a temporary license to fight after abnormalities were found in his previous tests. The United States Anti-Doping Agency cleared Jones of having re-administered a banned substance, citing a “pulsing” theory tied to a past drug test failure.
The news that Dillashaw failed a drug test tied to his most recent fight at UFC Brooklyn due to an “adverse finding” was revealed by the fighter himself. He also announced that he was relinquishing his 135-pound title and the New York State Athletic Commission later announced that Dillashaw was being given a one-year suspension.
Freire, Bellator’s featherweight champion, is currently preparing to go up in weight to challenge Michael Chandler for the lightweight title at Bellator 221 on May 11. Calling from the BioXcellerator stem cell treatment center in Medellin, Colombia, on Wednesday, Freire reiterated his longstanding theory that Chandler is using performance-enhancing drugs, this time citing a connection to Dillashaw.
“I am curious because I believe Michael Chandler is doing the same thing,” Freire said.
This is not the first time Freire has accused Chandler of impropriety. In a tweet from Dec. 13, 2018, Freire called Chandler a “steroid abuser”. He is now suggesting that Chandler and Dillashaw have an association that could implicate Chandler, with Dillashaw having been flagged by the USADA.
He also pointed to the 32-year-old Chandler’s impressive physique as potentially being due to being able to use banned substances under what he believes to be lax testing protocol.
“This is a fight between champion versus champion and it needs to be fair,” Freire said, with Portuguese translation help from coach Eric Albarracin. “In my opinion, they [work with the same people], they’re training partners, and he could be doing the same thing as T.J. Because imagine T.J.’s being tested by USADA and he’s in trouble now possibly for adverse findings — imagine Michael Chandler, who’s not even tested at all, imagine what he could be on.
“He’s not young anymore, and as he gets older, he keeps getting more ripped and getting more stronger and he looks more like a bodybuilder than a fighter.”
Asked if he had had expressed his concerns to Bellator officials about more thorough drug testing, Freire said that he had sent them an e-mail shortly after the Dillashaw news broke. He is in favor of random testing and mentioned wanting to get an organization like the USADA or the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency involved.
Should anything be found in Chandler’s system that shouldn’t be there, as Freire suspects, he believes it puts the Bellator star’s whole career in question.
“His legacy is doping. That’s his legacy,” Freire said. “He’s done this all by doping. He knows it. He knows he just needs to be random tested and you’ll see. That’s it. That’s why he didn’t join the UFC, because he’s avoiding USADA.”
MMA Fighting reached out to Chandler to inform him of Freire’s claims. The lightweight champion, who owns a first-round knockout victory over the elder “Pitbull” brother, Patricky, offered a short response via text:
“His small blinded view on the power of the human potential warrants him to make preemptive excuses for when he gets knocked out, like I did to his more talented brother.