A.J. McKee was stunned when the judges’ scorecards were all in favor of Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 277 after 25 minutes of action. After all, “Mercenary” felt the sting of his first defeat and, perhaps more important, he felt he had done enough to retain his 145-pound title. But, the ex-champion will likely have the chance to make things right for himself because Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker, has changed his tune on making a third straight fight between the two talented Featherweights.
“I do believe that if we can work out the weight thing with A.J., I know he wants to move up, I’d love to run that one back because I think that fight deserves to have a trilogy,” Coker told MMA Junkie Radio. “It’s really gonna be up to A.J. because he’s the fighter, but when he was telling me he wants to go up in weight, but maybe he might want to stay at ’45 to run it back with ‘Pitbull.’
Indeed, after suffering the first loss of his career, McKee revealed that he was done putting his body through the torture of trying to cut to 145 pounds. One can’t help but think it was also a way to try to talk himself into an immediate title fight at Lightweight, which, by the way, is currently being led by Patricky Pitbull.
That said, perhaps if Coker and Co. can come correct with their offer to keep McKee at 145 pounds for another fight against Pitbull, the 27-year-old star might be game for it.
“We just haven’t had a real conversation about that because the fight was on Friday and Sunday I came straight here (Hawaii), so I haven’t had a chance to talk to him or his dad, said Coker. “But, if he wants to do it, we definitely will not say no because we think they should run that fight back.
“Now they’re 1-1 and now they have a big trilogy fight,” Coker continued. “There’s gonna be a ton of interest, everybody’s gonna want to watch it and I do believe it’ll elevate their stock, elevate their brand moving forward.”
It seems the ball is in McKee’s court and his next move could be critical for his championship and big payday aspirations. Of course, should he defeat Pitbull, then there is going to be a question of whether or not he still plans to move up to 155 pounds to become “champ-champ.”
For Pitbull, defeating McKee one more time solidifies his position as the best 145-pound fighter in Bellator, and will put “Mercenary” in his rear-view mirror ... perhaps for good.
To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.