Former EFC Welterweight champion Dino Bagattin and BIA head coach Conrad Seabi could potentially return to the Hexagon this year after things boiled over between the two veterans at EFC105.
On that night, Bagattin was backstage congratulating his friend and CIT athlete Nkazimulo Zulu shortly after he beat BIA’s Musa Sethwape to earn the vacant Bantamweight belt before Seabi verbally confronted Bagattin.
Bagattin retaliated by smacking Seabi as chaos ensued inside and outside the EFC Performance Institute.
Bagattin was escorted from the premises and suspended from EFC events until further notice.
The incident, unfortunately, led to the Extreme Fighting Championship penalising Zulu and deducting 50 percent of his fight purse for hosting Bagattin backstage.
IOL Sport understands that Seabi — who retired after his interim Middleweight title fight against JP Kruger at EFC 103 has chosen not to take any legal action against Bagattin. The BIA head coach, however, has put out a challenge to Bagattin, asking the former Welterweight champion to come out of retirement and face him inside the Hexagon — a request that the EFC has welcomed.
Bagattin — who ceremoniously placed his gloves at the centre of the Hexagon after losing to undisputed Middleweight champion Luke Michael at EFC87 — has stated that he would prefer fighting Seabi under Bare Knuckle rules and not MMA. But EFC Matchmaker and Vice President Graeme Cartmell has poured cold water over any rumors of a BKF event this year.
“We are more than happy to get these two veterans back into the EFC Hexagon in an MMA fight, possibly in November,” said VP Cartmell.
“Right now, it does not make sense to go the Bare Knuckle route which would dilute our brand. These two athletes have built a foundation with the EFC via mixed martial arts, and that is where we are looking to settle this score. We are working hard to make that event happen later this year. Conrad is 100 percent on board ... we are still working things out with Dino,” added Cartmell.
Bagattin has since apologised to the EFC and fans for the incident on July 13 but maintains that his actions toward Seabi are justified.
“All I did was go backstage to congratulate Zulu. I smiled and acknowledged Conrad, and then he started running his mouth, saying ‘What are you smiling at, you bitch’.
“I turned around and gave him the smack of his life,” said Bagattin.
“If you talk s**t you are going to get it. I’ve had enough of Conrad. He says one thing in front of other fighters, and when the cameras are on, and people are watching, he goes into another mode, and his language gets bad. He has been goading me for the longest time, who’s the b***h now, Conrad? I slapped him then, and I’ll do it again.
“What I don’t understand is why I am banned and not him?” said Bagattin after Seabi reacted by throwing his own punch before security stepped in.
“He has made shit so many times at the EFC. I honestly could not give a f**k about the ban, but my little boy loves this sport and show, and he won’t be happy. This is a big thing for him.
“I’d love to fight Conrad in a Bare Knuckle fight and ram my fist down his throat before cutting his face open with my elbows,” said Bagattin, who initially proposed the BK bout to the EFC.
When asked for comment, Seabi called Bagattin a “sheep” and a “coward” while explaining his side of the story.
“After going to the back to check up on Musa, I bumped into Dino, who was on his way to see Zulu. I said ‘F**k you’ and the chirping started, normal things fighters do. I encouraged him to sign a contract and fight with me. As I turned around, he slapped me before I punched him. Then the security had to step in and escort him out as it would have turned out bad for him as a lot of guys were looking for him, but I am a bigger man these days, so I calmed things down and asked our Brothers In Arms supporters to leave it,” says Seabi.
“Dino is a sheep, he acts soft in front of people, but he is a totally different person, the truth is, he is a pu**y and a coward. He says he will come out of retirement for a Bare Knuckle fight with me. No problem. I don’t care. I will gladly give him Bare Knuckles, this is personal. I will take this one to the street if I have to. He does not know me, I was not born yesterday or with a silver spoon in my mouth,” added Seabi.
Bagattin had profusely apologized to team CIT and their fighter, Zulu, and was shocked at the EFC’s decision to penalize the new Bantamweight champion.
“I am seriously not happy with Zulu being fined. I am not even contracted to CIT, nor to anyone. I go to many gyms. What the EFC has done to Zulu is very unfair, and I believe Conrad pushed it, every time he and his cronies are involved in issues at EFC events.
“I train a lot with CIT’s EFC Welterweight champion Mark Hulme. We have a long history together, and we often help each other. We are old training partners, we share a brotherhood. So when he calls, I come through for him and bring that experience to his fight camps, and that is how CIT accepted me straight away, but by no means am I contracted to them,” says the 22-fight veteran.
“I am really pissed off about a lot of things. Congratulations to Conrad for pissing me off enough to come out of retirement,” added Bagattin.