When Jake Paul released his diss track aimed primarily at UFC president Dana White, there were a few familiar faces alongside him in the video — including Bellator featherweight champion A.J. Antonio McKee is McKee’s dad.
Antonio was a fighter and had his own successful career before passing on the torch to his son. He joked that he would plead the fifth when asked about his response to Paul’s video directed at White.
” It’s funny,” McKee said to MMA Fighting. McKee said, “It’s great entertainment for me. Nobody challenges Dana, so for him to challenge Dana like that, I find it entertaining.
“It was a little uncomfortable for me to have my father in that video, in that. There are no difficult feelings. At the end of the day, it’s business. This is entertainment.”
The song highlighted Paul’s many issues with White and the UFC. Paul targeted them for their fighter pay discrepancies. This is especially true when it comes to overall revenue. The biggest MMA promotion keeps the lion’s share rather than paying more to athletes.
Paul has frequently engaged in a war of words with White over social media and through interviews, which was a huge driver to the diss track being created in the first place.
” Paul is doing a great job,” McKee stated about Paul. “At the end of the day whether you hate him or you like him, he’s entertaining and people are talking about him. Dana doesn’t mention f*cking anyone outside the UFC but he mentions Jake Paul. Jake is doing something right.
“For me, it’s entertainment. I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny. However, the lyrics aren’t so funny. It’s good. It’s entertaining. It’s entertaining. Outside of that, it’s entertaining.”
According to McKee, his father has been banging the drum for many of the same issues that Paul has highlighted in his ongoing battle against White and the UFC, so that certainly resonated with him when seeing the video.
It’s doubtful Paul’s tirades will suddenly force the UFC’s hand to make significant changes, but McKee can’t help but be impressed by the attention the 25-year-old social influencer-turned-boxer has been receiving for speaking out on the subject.
“I think personally, for my dad stepping into the video, the things he was speaking on in the video, my dad’s been talking about fighter’s unions and unifying belts and just more things for the fighters,” McKee said. That’s why I think boxing is more a mixed martial art sport than boxing. I still enjoy it, but I see it growing to be a new sport.
“For me, I love what he’s doing. His efforts are attracting a lot more attention to the sport. Some people might say that it is bad attention. But I think it’s great attention due to the strengths and things he points out. I don’t like to speak upon things too much in the fight world because I want to give it opportunity to actually grow.”
McKee said that regardless of promotion — UFC or Bellator — he would like to see more protections for fighters such as pensions and healthcare. However, he also wants to allow time for benefits of this nature to grow over time.
He also knows that right now he doesn’t have as much influence to truly shine a spotlight on those issues, but he promises that with time, he’ll get there.
“For me, in due time,” McKee said. McKee said, “I believe that with a bit more starpower, a bit more following and people supporting me, getting to know me for who I really am will make a huge difference to the MMA fan base and show them the potential and things I would like to do in the sport.”
“I think step one is unify those belts so I can go out there and show who ‘The Mercenary’ really is.”