Patricio 'Pitbull' Freire called out referee Mike Beltran for his fourth-round stoppage of Liz Carmouche vs. Juliana Velasquez at the Bellator 278 headliner. In the Brazilian fighter’s opinion, Beltran shouldn’t be allowed to referee another fight again.
After the controversial stoppage of the Bellator women’s flyweight title matchup, Patricio took to Twitter and called Beltran to accountability for his decision to stop the fight in the closing seconds of the fourth round.
He posted on Twitter:
"Mike Beltran should never be allowed to referee a fight again! First he took away my title and now he takes away Juliana's title. He should be held accountable! @BellatorMMA #Bellator278"
Patricio's conflict with the referee began right after his loss to A.J. McKee in the finals of the Bellator World Featherweight Grand Prix back in July 2021. The bout, which served as a featherweight title fight was also refereed by Beltran.
He stopped it in the first round after ‘Mercenary’ locked 'Pitbull' in a guillotine choke. Beltran stopped the fight because he rendered the Brazilian to be choked out.
'Pitbull' didn't agree with the referee’s decision stating that he was positioning himself to defend against the choke and Beltran made his decision only due to his poor placement in the cage.
Bellator posted the footage of the stoppage on promotional social media:
"He stepped in at the right time" - Liz Carmouche defends Mike Beltran for stoppage
The newly crowned Bellator women’s flyweight champion Liz Carmouche stood up to Mike Beltran’s defense.
During the Bellator 278 post-fight press conference, Carmouche was asked about the fight stoppage. In her mind, the referee made the right decision to stop the fight. She commented:
“Yeah i think he stepped in at the right time. I think if he’d let it continue it could have been a broken orbital. It could been her going unconscious. I think that when he stepped in it was the right thing to do. To protect the fighter. Because she wasn’t doing anything to correctly advance her position safely. She wasn’t doing anything to defend… I think he did a right thing.”
Beltran stopped the fight in the fourth round when Liz Carmouche was on top of Juliana Velasquez. ‘Girl-Rilla’ was utilizing her ground and pound when the referee was forced to step in and call off the fight.
Watch Liz Carmouche speak about Mike Beltran stopping the fight at 1:39 of the video below: