Things almost went down a dangerous path at the Bellator 263 press conference on Thursday. After a heated argument between featherweight champion Patricio Freire and challenger AJ McKee, the top contender tried to snatch the belt away from the Brazilian’s table and the argument almost devolved into a brawl, but was controlled in time.
It all started when both men felt disrespected when their opponents mentioned each other’s families during the press conference, which both McKee and Freire felt like it was crossing the line. Thankfully, nobody was injured or struck during the incident.
You can watch the whole argument develop below:
Tensions rose when AJ’s father and coach, former fighter Antonio McKee, started talking about the many advantages he believes his son to have over Patricio. Patricio got a chance to reply, but the conversation spun out of control when Pitbull and AJ mentioned each other’s families.
“We are either psychic or we have some type of prophecy thing going on here,” Antonio said. “This has all been written since he was three, it has happened step by step. He wrote a million dollar check when he was ten years old and he couldn’t even spell one million. We need to make sure we carry ourselves with respect and pride. We want to be respected and we want to be a trendsetter for people who want to do this sport.”
“We want to be the example. It’s up to him.” McKee continued. “He has the IQ when he’s out there. He knows what he’s doing, I have a lot of confidence in what he’s doing, and I believe in him. We don’t talk smack about Pitbull, we just state facts. My son is younger, he’s longer, he’s stronger, he faster, and he doesn’t have the same mouth on him.”
Prior to the confusion, Pitbull mentioned how McKee’s was not such a dangerous outing for him, claiming that AJ was nervous to face him. Freire went on to compare McKee to Daniel Straus, a man the Brazilian has already defeated three out of four.
“This is one of the biggest fights of my career. I have fought several guys that were very tough too. I beat Michael Chandler which was revenge for me. Now is a new opportunity to show my talent.He is very nervous, he doesn’t want to be there in the cage. When your enemy is making a mistake, don’t interrupt him. I fought four times against someone like McKee, it was Daniel Straus. I feel comfortable, I have several training partners in my gym like him.”
Freire and McKee are expected to meet at Bellator 263’s main event, for the featherweight belt in the Grand Prix final. The card is scheduled to take place in Inglewood, California, on July 31.