Long-time UFC lightweight Kurt Pellegrino willfully walked away from MMA competition a little less than six months ago, opting to focus on obligations to his family and gym rather than re-sign a Zuffa contract.
“It’s hard to make a decision like this, but I feel its best for me to step away for now and time will tell what the future will bring for me,” Pellegrino originally wrote online to his fans. “I don’t want to retire, but I need to find myself and find my love for this sport again. Hopefully you will see me in the cage again, but if not thanks to everyone for the memories, it’s been an awesome ride.”
As it turns out, the dwindling passion Pellegrino had seemingly lost didn’t take long to locate.
Last night, Bellator FC introduced their newest lightweight signing – Pellegrino – to the audience during the Bellator 49 broadcast where it was also announced the 32-year old grappler’s first fight would come on November 26 at Bellator 59 against Season 4 tournament finalist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.
Though terms of the deal were not revealed it’s likely one of the primary factors in Pellegrino’s decision to sign, rather than simply money, may have been Bellator’s frequent stops in his home-State of New Jersey. Bellator 49 took place in Atlantic City as will Bellator 59 when he makes his promotional debut.
Pellegrino is 16-6 in his career but coming off back-to-back decision losses in the UFC. Prior to the defeats, neither of which he was dominated in, “Batman” had won four straight including victories over and Thiago Tavares and Josh Neer.
His opponent in November, the 9-2 Freire, has beaten Rob McCullough and Toby Imada in the Bellator ring. Six of his total wins have come via TKO.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/BELLATOR