(Good to have you back, buddy.)
Well damn, that didn’t last long. A little over three months after announcing his retirement from MMA — due to his fading motivation to compete and a desire to spend time with his new son — the game has sucked Batman back in. Kurt Pellegrino announced on Saturday that he has signed with Bellator, and will face Season Four lightweight tournament finalist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 59, November 26th at Caesar’s Atlantic City. As Kurt explained:
“It was like Rocky II when Adrian awoke from the coma and told Rocky to ‘win’. I was retired, sitting home watching videos with my son, but I was also training at that time and was in great shape when my wife walked up to me and said ‘If you want to do it again, go for it’. Before that, I felt bad for being away training and missing my daughter’s first words, changing diapers, etc. I was so happy that I was able to be there for my son’s big moments – but the fact that my family supports me returning to fight means everything to me…
I retired from fighting and didn’t think I was going to do this anymore. I feel like this is the right show for me to do everything I want to do and to go where I want to go. I get to finish the vision quest my way and this is why I chose Bellator. My family comes before anything and Bellator understands that. I wanted to wait until I was able to fight in Atlantic City and Bellator is giving me that opportunity – so I couldn’t be happier.”
“I had a choice to fight at Boardwalk Hall or fight in the Ballroom at Caesars and I chose Caesars,” Pellegrino said. “I want Patricky to feel suffocated. I want to suffocate him before I ever take his back and choke him out. I’m going to put a thousand of my family and friends in this Ballroom and I want him to feel the pressure. This is going to be the biggest fight of his life…If he can come into my state, the birthplace of me fighting, the place Arturo Gatti made famous – this is me resurrecting Arturo Gatti. I’m going to rock Atlantic City just like Arturo did.”
Pellegrino won’t be the only East Coast-spawned UFC vet making his promotional debut at Bellator 59. TUF 8 finalist/male nurse/native New Yorker Phillipe Nover will be facing 19-year-old Polish prodigy Marcin Held. Nover was released from the UFC after losses to Efrain Escudero, Kyle Bradley, and Rob Emerson, but returned to action last month, scoring a unanimous decision over Jake Murphy at Hoosier Fight Club 8 in Valparaiso, Indiana. Held’s Bellator debut in March resulted in a first-round submission loss to Michael Chandler, but he rebounded earlier this month with a heel-hook win over Kaleo Kwan at AFC 2: Lombard vs. Taylor.