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Bellator 277: A.J. McKee wants $1 million per fight, says winning UFC title is inevitable

Bellator MMA

A.J. McKee recently revealed he currently has three fights left on his Bellator MMA deal, which could potentially keep him with the promotion for another 1.5 years. Of course, that’s assuming the two sides don’t come to a long-term extension.

According to the Featherweight champion, there have been talks, but nothing has been signed because the two are far apart when it comes to numbers.

“They did [try to re-sign me],” McKee said on The MMA Hour (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “I had already fought previously for $1 million. I feel I should never have to see anything under $1 million 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 backward, anything under $1 million, I feel it’s just not reasonable. We were at like [$500K], but it’s not appetizing to me.”

In his previous win against Patricio Freire in 2021, McKee cashed a $1 million check that goes to the Grand Prix winners, aside from his normal undisclosed payout. For his upcoming rematch against “Pitbull” at this Friday night’s (March 15, 2022) Bellator 277 event, McKee says he will earn $250,000.

Having competed for Bellator for all of his professional MMA fights, McKee says if he doesn’t start seeing $1 million paydays on the regular moving forward, his time with the promotion could come to an end once he’s a free agent.

“Possibly, if we can’t come up with the $1 million, 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.

“I look forward to having children of my own someday,” he continued. “This is how my father eats. It’s generation after generation. This ain’t no new story for us. Can’t stop me, but you can slow me down a little bit.”

Of course, should he parts ways the Bellator, a jump to UFC is what everyone would want to see, McKee included.

“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.

“Owning a UFC belt one day, it’s going to happen,” he continued. “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.”

According to McKee, a title fight against UFC’s 145-pound champion, Alexander Volkanovski, would be great; however, his dream fight is still one against former division champion, Max Holloway.

“Maybe, I get that [Michael] Chandler red carpet treatment, come in and beat somebody up in the top three real quick and then go straight into a title fight,” McKee concluded. “Beat [Alexander] Volkanovski up real quick one time for the one time but my dream fight’s [Max] Holloway. That’s the dream fight.”


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