Bellator books Forum for 1st domestic show outside bubble


LOS ANGELES — Bellator has chosen the Forum in Inglewood, California, for its first domestic show outside of its Connecticut bubble since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Patrício “Pitbull” Freire will take on unbeaten AJ McKee for the Bellator featherweight title on July 31, president Scott Coker announced this week.

Bellator has held 17 shows at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, since it returned to competition in July 2020. Two more shows are scheduled for the Mohegan Sun before Bellator gets back on the road and returns to the West Coast.

Bellator also has held shows in France, Italy and Ireland during the pandemic.

Freire (32-4) is widely considered the world’s top featherweight fighter, while McKee is a homegrown Bellator talent. Their bout will complete Bellator’s 16-fighter featherweight grand prix.

The undercard includes a bout for unbeaten Usman Nurmagomedov, the cousin of retired UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Showtime will televise the show for Bellator. Both companies are owned by ViacomCBS.

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