Former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee chose loyalty over fame when it came to his discussions with various promotions in recent weeks.
McKee signed a new, multiple-fight deal to remain with Bellator for the foreseeable future earlier this week. He was in discussions with all of the major players, including the UFC and PFL, but ultimately decided to stay in the promotion that helped make him.
According to McKee, the deal is six fights, meaning he’ll likely be with Bellator for another two years. He recently was announced as part of the Lightweight World Grand Prix bracket and will face a to-be-determined opponent in the opening round.
The future remains bright for McKee, who recently earned a win at the Bellator-Rizin event against Roberto de Souza. Before that, he won his lightweight debut against Spike Carlyle in October.
Some were surprised by the news that McKee decided to re-sign with Bellator, despite two fights left on his contract. At the end of the negotiations, he decided to continue his physical prime in the Bellator cage.
AJ McKee Explains Loyalty To Bellator After Getting New Contract
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, McKee gave his first thoughts on re-signing with Bellator.
Before re-signing with Bellator, McKee teased potential matchups with the likes of Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway in the UFC. Those fights could still happen after the conclusion of this deal, although time might be running out for both sides to be in their prime.
McKee’s stock rose when he won the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix in 2021 over Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire. He went on to lose the rematch to Freire last year but the trilogy remains firmly on the table entering 2023.
McKee, arguably one of the biggest names of the sport, opted to stay with Bellator and continue to build his brand. It’s a massive victory for Bellator as it looks to keep pace with the UFC and other top promotions.
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