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PFL releases Mousasi from Bellator contract after legal threats

Brian Lawless - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

The PFL announced Thursday that it released former Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi from his contract, ending a tumultuous six-month relationship.

"We wish him all the best in his next fighting chapter," Mike Kogan, PFL head of fighter operations, said in a statement posted to X.

The news comes one day after Mousasi appeared on "The MMA Hour" and threatened legal action against the PFL. Mousasi put the promotion on blast for keeping him sidelined since its acquisition of Bellator and hypothesized that the PFL doesn't have the "financial means" to honor certain fighters' contracts. Mousasi called it the "worst" organization he's been part of.

Mousasi was one of many fighters brought over last November under the landmark deal between the PFL and Bellator. The former UFC fighter had been under contract with Bellator since 2017. Mousasi's last fight, a main-event loss to Fabian Edwards, took place at a Bellator Paris event in May 2023.

Several other fighters have complained about various issues with the PFL in recent weeks, including former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima, Bellator women's featherweight champ Cris Cyborg, and two-time PFL women's featherweight titleholder Larissa Pacheco.

"We will not comment on the merits of the alleged release at this time for obvious reasons," Mousasi's manager Nima Safapour said in a statement to MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn. "However, we believe there is a greater lesson here that our community should pay close attention to. For an organization that repeatedly claims to be 'fighter first,' we now truly see how PFL treats their fighters, especially their legends."

A pro MMA fighter since 2003 with 60 bouts on his record, Mousasi is closer to the end of his career than the beginning but has shown no interest in retiring yet. The 38-year-old, who was born in Iran but lives in the Netherlands, captured the Bellator middleweight title in 2018 and again in 2020, amassing three total defenses. Mousasi fought in the UFC from 2013-17 and was a top contender at 185 pounds.

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