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Pat Curran out of title-defense against Patricio Freire due to broken orbital bone

In what is a major blow to the Bellator featherweight division, champion Pat Curran will no longer be able to put his gold up for grabs later this month after suffering a fairly rough injury while training for the bout. According to CEO Bjorn Rebney, the upcoming fight between Curran and Patricio Freire at Bellator 73 has been called off after Curran broke an orbital bone in his last week of sparring in preparation for the August 24 tilt.

ESPN was first to report the unfortunate affliction.

“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,” said Curran to ESPN. The rising star also took to his Facebook page to add, “It was my 2nd to last sparring session and I fractured my orbital… Sorry everyone….The fights off.”

There is already a logjam in the division because of shuffling and injuries.  Curran was scheduled to fight Freire, who himself was pulled from a meeting due to injury, while Daniel Straus has also won a featherweight tournament final and is in line for his shot as well. Based on the required healing period it will be months before Curran can get back to training for the Freire fight. The bout would have have been Curran’s first title defense since soundly beating former champion Joe Warren in March.

With Freire-Curran off, the card’s main event will be a bantamweight tournament fight between Marcos Galvao and Luis Nogueira. Light heavyweight Travis Wiuff and Attila Vegh will also meet in another tournament final.