Originally posted on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 8/14/12

According to ESPN.com, Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight champion Pat Curran (Pictured) broke his orbital bone Wednesday and will be forced out of this month’s title defense against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.

“It’s an incredibly frustrating injury, especially to happen so close to the fight, but these things happen,” Curran told the website. “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.”

Curran took Bellator’s Season 5 Featherweight Tournament by posting a devastating 2ndRound highlight-reel roundhouse kick to Marlon Sandro’s dome. He then went on to capture the crown this past March by putting Joe Warren down with a vicious barrage of strikes.

“First and foremost I feel horrible for Pat, he’s been looking forward to this fight pitting two of the best 145 pounds in the world against each other for months,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney added. “Pat always elevates his game as the stakes get higher and higher. Right now the focus is Pat healing and getting back to 100 percent and we will get that fight rescheduled as quickly as Pat’s health will allow us to.”

Pitbull has been riding the pine for over a year after suffering a broken hand. He solidified his top contender status by running through Bellator’s Season 4 Featherweight Tournament. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he’ll have to wait a tad longer for his shot at the 145-pound throne.

“Bellator 73” takes place August 24th inside Harrah’s in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi. No word on who the show’s new featured attraction will be.

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