Antonio McKee is back. The 49-year old father of AJ will have his first fight in five years. And he doesn’t plan on it being his last.
At Bellator 228 on Saturday night, we’ll get to see the first father-son duo compete on the same fight card for the first time in MMA history. With the returning McKee fighting on the prelims against William Sriyapai, his son AJ will be on the main card trying to advance in the featherweight Grand Prix.
Back on the big stage now, the former Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) champion isn’t coming back just for the moment.
“No, it’s not one and done. I’m going for the title at 155 [pounds],” McKee told The Body Lock. “And if I lose, that’s gonna inspire [AJ] to go and fight even more. Ain’t no one and done. I’m healthy. I’m young at heart. I didn’t take any damage in any of my career. I fought a very smart career. Because I knew this was going to happen.
“My son said at five, six, seven years old, he wanted to fight with me on the same card. You know, I got involved in political parts of the sport, I was, you know, kind of blackballed a little bit. And then my style of fighting didn’t help but you know what, I’m glad and everything is working itself out, and I’m in the best place. And I’m in the best physique I can be in physically.”
After his reign in the MFC, McKee would end up getting the call up to fight in the UFC on a four-fight deal. Unfortunately for the Long Beach, California native, he would suffer his first loss in nearly eight years when debuting against Jacob Volkmann. He would lose the fight via split decision.
McKee would then be cut from the promotion. And to take all positives out of the negatives, if that didn’t happen, maybe he would never get to have this great moment with his son.
“I look at things as everything happens because it’s supposed to happen,” McKee shared. “I chose this path to get in a cage and fight. I didn’t choose the haters. I didn’t choose the politics. I didn’t choose to be black or white. And unfortunately, I’m a very strong humanity, type of person when I feel things aren’t fair.
“So I was always speaking up to what’s right, and what’s wrong, And of course, you know, [UFC President] Dana [White] didn’t like me. And I don’t like Dana, because you’re still a human being. And that doesn’t mean that you can discredit or treat somebody any different because you think you have power money. And that’s just type of person that I am.”
When it comes to if making this return to action will be hard or not, McKee has already seen it all… with the exception of fighting with his son.
“Man, I have nothing to prove,” he stated. I’m going to go out here and I’m going to do what you’ve always seen me do. I’m going to take this guy down, and I’m going to pound his ass out. Hopefully, he gives up and if he doesn’t give up, I’m gonna do it for 15 minutes. I don’t have a problem with that. But I really don’t want to fight that long. I want to get this shit over in the first round. I’ll be honest with you.”