Undefeated Bellator champion A.J. McKee is demanding big changes.
Ahead of his rematch with Patricio Pitbull this Friday at Bellator 277, Bellator’s homegrown superstar revealed that he is looking to leave his high profile CAA management team to have he and his father, Antonio McKee handle representation themselves. The 27-year-old featherweight champion is also asking Bellator for a far bigger purse or risk losing him to a different promotion.
Currently 18-0 and quickly becoming the promotion’s biggest star, McKee says he will only take $1 million purses moving forward.
“They did [try to re-sign me],” McKee told MMA Fighting. “I had already fought previously for a million dollars. I feel I should never have to see anything under a million dollars again, especially with the achievements I’ve accomplished. Every time I step in that cage, there’s an ‘O’ on my record.
“For me to go backwards, anything under a million, I feel it’s just not reasonable. We were at like [$500K] but it’s not appetizing to me.”
McKee earned a $1,000,000 prize for winning the Bellator featherweight grand prix in 2021, but his current contracted purse is set at $250,000. He says if Bellator doesn’t match his asking price, he could test free agency as soon as his champion’s clause ends.
“Possibly, if we can’t come up with the million dollars, then yeah [this could be it],” McKee said. “Also that’s the thing. Every time I fight, my numbers are going to double because I want to be back paid for the fights that I haven’t. It’s business. I’ve got families to feed.
“There’s been nothing re-signed so currently championship clause, three fights [remaining],” McKee said. “It doesn’t specify specifically [how long the contract lasts] so it’s normally about six months per fight, a year and a half [left]. A year and a half but I’ve got other things going on outside of that, all kinds of other stuff.”
McKee, a second-generation MMA fighter, revealed that he always had dreams of being a UFC champion while growing up as a fan of “Rampage” Jackson.
“Owning a UFC belt one day, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable,” he said. “It’s an achievement and an accolade that I would love to have under my belt. Being champ-champ there as well.
“Beat [Alexander] Volkanovski up real quick one time,” he said. “but my dream fight’s [Max] Holloway. That’s the dream fight.”