AJ McKee ends UFC rumors after signing multi-fight deal with Bellator


Former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee has signed a multi-fight, multi-year contract to remain with the promotion, according to a press release from the company.

McKee, who has spent his entire professional mixed martial arts career with Bellator, made his professional debut back in 2015. He has a record of 20-1 since making his debut.

There had been rumors that Bellator could lose McKee, who is likely their biggest star, however, the promotion was able to keep their No.3-ranked pound-for-pound fighter. McKee is also currently ranked No.2 in the Bellator featherweight rankings and No.8 in the Bellator lightweight rankings.

Bellator President Scott Coker stated, in the press release:

“Our top priority has always been to cultivate talent from the ground up, and with AJ [McKee] I can proudly say we have witnessed this young man blossom into a bonafide superstar in the Bellator cage.”

Coker continued:

“It’s also our priority to retain top talent, and with AJ entering the prime of his career, it was important to make sure he continued representing the Bellator brand, much like he did recently in Japan, for the foreseeable future. I am looking forward to AJ’s next challenge, an appearance in our 2023 Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix, which showcases the best 155-pounders in the world.”

AJ McKee made his lightweight debut in October 2022 and it appears he will continue to compete in the division for the foreseeable future.


Dana White had previously discussed AJ McKee’s pending free agency

Leading up to UFC 265 in August 2021, UFC President Dana White had expressed interest in negotiating with AJ McKee when the Bellator star reached free agency. Speaking to TSN‘s Aaron Bronsteter, White discussed McKee calling out his fighters, stating:

“When his contract is up, he’ll have to call and we’ll see what we can do… Apparently I owe him lunch so I will pay my dues and buy him lunch… To hear a story like McKee is cool and I look forward to buying him lunch.”

It is unclear if McKee heard a pitch from the UFC, however, he chose to remain with the only mixed martial arts promotion that he has ever known. If he wants to face the UFC fighters that he is called out, he will have to wait until the end of his new contract.

Watch Dana White discuss potentially signing AJ McKee below (starting at the 6:58 mark):

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