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

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

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

There were rumors that Bellator might lose McKee, who is probably their biggest star, but the promotion was able to keep their pound-for-pound fighter at No. 3. McKee is also currently #2 in the Bellator featherweight rankings and #8 in the Bellator lightweight rankings.

Bellator President Scott Coker stated in the press release:

“Our top priority has always been nurturing talent from the ground up and with AJ [McKee] I’m proud to say that we’ve seen this young man grow into a true superstar in the Bellator cage.”

Coker continued:

“Retaining top talent is also our priority and as AJ enters the prime of his career it was important to ensure he continues to represent the Bellator brand for the foreseeable future, much like he did recently in Japan. I look forward to AJ’s next challenge, an appearance at our 2023 Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix showcasing 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 previously spoke about AJ McKee’s floating free hand

Ahead of UFC 265 in August 2021, UFC President Dana White had expressed interest in negotiating with AJ McKee when the Bellator star reached a free hand. Speak with TSN‘s Aaron Bronsteter, White discussed McKee calling his fighters and declaring:

“If his contract is up he’ll have to call and we’ll see what we can do… Apparently I owe him a lunch so I’ll pay my dues and buy him a lunch… Hearing a story like McKee’s is cool and I’m excited.” ready to take him to lunch.”

It’s unclear if McKee heard a pitch from the UFC, but he chose to stick with the only mixed martial arts promotion he’s ever known. If he wants to face the UFC fighters he’s called up, he’ll have to wait until the end of his new contract.

Watch Dana White discuss the potential signing of AJ McKee below (from minute 6:58):

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