AJ McKee not sold on resigning with Bellator

AJ McKee

Friday night in the headliner of Bellator 277, the featherweight title is on the line. The pound-for-pound best in the promotion AJ McKee (18-0) will defend his title against all time great and former champion Patricio Pitbull (32-5).

This fight is a rematch from their first fight back in July. In that contest at Bellator 263, McKee shocked the world when he ran through the Bellator great and stopped him in the first round to become featherweight champion.

Little did we know that the win over Pitbull triggered a champion’s clause in McKee’s contract. AJ McKee had a champion’s clause in his Bellator contract which extended the deal he was on should he become a champion.

This is a very common practice for promoters which allows them the extended opportunity to resign their champions. However, Bellator and AJ McKee have yet to come to an agreement and at the moment, they are far apart on a deal.

McKee’s Bellator Future

McKee was on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani today where he shed a light on his current contract status. Per McKee, the champion’s clause went into effect when he won the title from Pitbull last July. His particular championship clause is three fights.

This headliner at Bellator 277 is fight one on that three-fight extension. McKee told Helwani that he was getting paid $250,000 for his fight on Friday night but he’s wanting a deal where he’s making seven figures for his fights.

At the moment, Bellator is quite a ways off with their proposals per the champion. McKee also shed some light regarding his future interest in the UFC. The featherweight champion said that it is his lifelong dream to become the UFC’s featherweight champion.

He also stated that his dream fight is with Max Holloway. With McKee’s ability to draw attention and his perfect record, there would be massive things for him waiting in the UFC. However, the question is whether or not Bellator will step up their offers.

Bellator has time to work with. Even if McKee wins on Saturday, they have two more fights to try and get an extension done. There’s plenty of time, but if McKee wants to fight two more times this year, he could be a free agent by the end of 2022.

If that’s the case, we are going to see our third straight year featuring a massive MMA free agent. In 2020, it was Michael Chandler. This past year, it was Kayla Harrison. Chandler made the jump from Bellator to the UFC and personally, if he hits the market unbeaten, I see the same thing for McKee.