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A.J. McKee chose to re-sign with Bellator MMA because ‘fame don’t pay the bills’

Bellator MMA

For Bellator MMA, re-signing former Featherweight champion, A.J. McKee, to a long-term contract was simply a no-brainer. After all, McKee has quickly become one of the faces of the promotion, and all of his fights have come under the Bellator banner.

For McKee, staying put was a business decision because while he knows some promotions may be able to get his fame and popularity level up a bit more, at the end of the day paying the bills is what matters.

“There’s another million dollars at stake,” McKee said Wednesday on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “There’s another million dollars [in] the 155-pound division and I’ve been kind of getting my feet wet in it a little bit. So they came with an offer that I just couldn’t refuse,” he added.

Of course, McKee, who already won the $1 million Featherweight Grand Prix last year, is eying his second tournament win and hefty payout as a participant in the stacked Lightweight World Grand Prix.

“The Mercenary” says he did do a bit of shopping with other promotions before eventually signing on the dotted line.

“I kind of was given the opportunity to go and talk a little bit and see,” McKee said. “So, I don’t know, once I did that and then I came back, I was like, ‘Look, there’s some people that are interested,’ and they were like, ‘You know what? We’re going to make this work.’ And we sat down — we sat down, the team and I — and figured it out.

“I think just strategically it makes sense if I say. I’m homegrown with Bellator, I’ve been raised there, my entire career has been there. So I’m not going to go anywhere unless I have to, you know what I mean? It’s no secret that [other promotions are] writing bigger checks than the UFC, so it’s like, what’s the point? For the fame? Fame don’t pay bills.”

Fame also doesn’t pay for expensive outfits.

McKee did at one point express his interest in winning a UFC title, but that won’t be happening anytime soon now that Scott Coker and Viacom did what they had to do to lock down his services for the foreseeable future.

With a record of 20-1, McKee is one of the brightest rising stars in all of MMA and a second division championship win will not only raise his bank account, but his overall stock in the fight business. While it has not been announced yet, the way the 155-pound bracket shakes out McKee will be fighting Patricky Pitbull in the opening round of the tournament.


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