A. J. McKee (18–0), the reigning Bellator MMA Featherweight champion and the promotion’s pound for pound king, has made it clear that he wants $1 million purse for each fight if the promotion wants to keep him, or he is ready to seek alternate routes, which includes a potential move to the sport’s top drawer, the UFC.
Anything under a million is “going backwards” says A. J. McKee
One of the most popular non-UFC mixed martial artists of this generation, A. J. McKee has become the posterboy of Bellator in recent years. The undefeated 27-year-old won the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix last year and became the Featherweight titleholder, defeating Patricio Pitbull in the final at Bellator 263 in July.
Ahead of his much awaited rematch with Pitbull which will serve as the main event of Bellator 277 this Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, McKee has cleared the air about what the promotion needs to do to keep him around- a $1 million paycheck per fight.
“They did [try to re-sign me]. 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,” McKee said on The MMA Hour, “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.”
“Mercenary” also claimed that he is going to earn $250K from the Pitbull rematch, and McKee said there are three fights remaining under his current Bellator contract before he contemplates a move if the promotion doesn’t nod to his terms.
“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.”
“It’s always been a dream of mine and a goal of mine to own a UFC title,” McKee said. “Just as a kid I grew up watching ‘Rampage’ [Quinton Jackson]. As a kid in the gym, that’s the first UFC belt I ever saw.
A move to the UFC seems most plausible for McKee, who is a longtime fan of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the former UFC Heavyweight champion who has most recently been a part of the Bellator roster as well. McKee also says its his dream to become a UFC champion himself in future.
“It’s always been a dream of mine and a goal of mine to own a UFC title,” “Just as a kid I grew up watching ‘Rampage’ [Quinton Jackson]. As a kid in the gym, that’s the first UFC belt I ever saw,” McKee went on,“Owning a UFC belt one day, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s an achievement and an accolade that I would love to have under my belt. Being champ-champ there as well.” [H/T MMAFighting.com]