A.J. McKee gets into it with Pitbull brothers at Bellator press conference: ‘I’m going to destroy the Pitbull legacy’


A.J. McKee’s war against the “Pitbull” brothers isn’t going to end after Bellator 277.

The reigning Bellator featherweight champion is set to rematch Patricio Freire on Friday in the main event of Bellator 277. McKee handily defeated the younger “Pitbull” brother last July with a neck crank in less than two minutes to capture the 145-pound title.

At the time, Patricio was a two-division champion in Bellator, holding both the featherweight and lightweight belts. In the aftermath of his loss to McKee, Patricio ultimately opted to vacate his lightweight strap and allow his older brother, Patricky Freire, to step into the picture and challenge for the 155-pound title against Peter Queally at Bellator 270 this past November, a fight Patricky won via second-round knockout.

That means McKee’s quest to become a two-division Bellator champion remains a family affair against the two “Pitbull” brothers.

At Monday’s kickoff press conference ahead of Bellator 277, McKee said he agreed to rematch Patricio for the featherweight belt before heading up to 155 pounds out of respect for what Patricio had accomplished in the company, alluding to the fact that the former two-division champion is the most decorated fighter in Bellator history. He then addressed whether the brash approach he took into his first fight with Patricio would change now that he’s the hunted rather than the hunter — and that set off a chain reaction.

“I’m always respectful, but when you cross that line, that’s the line — things got to get dealt with,” McKee said. McKee stated, “It’s not disrespectful. It’s just respect. Obviously things are a little bit different now. I’m the champ so I’d like to carry myself different. The first fight felt like picking on the brother. And this fight, I’m just looking forward to going out there and really putting on a show, man. I’m looking forward to being the champ-champ, so his brother’s got the belt — a ‘Pitbull’ is a ‘Pitbull’ to me.”

McKee’s answer prompted an immediate off-stage retort from Patricky, who vowed to the American that he’d be waiting for him after Bellator 277.

“I know you are,” McKee responded. McKee replied, “To become a champion you have to beat a champion.” Keep that in mind. … I defeated once. I’ll beat your brother and you again.”

To that, Patricky remarked that McKee can only dream.

” What does it mean to dream? McKee replied, “It’s going to be happen bro.” It’s inevitable. It’s inevitable. Inevitable. Faster, stronger, bigger. This is why [Patricio] gave the belt to you. Let’s just be real, that’s why he gave the belt to you. Let’s be realistic, he doesn’t want to see me faster, stronger, bigger [at 155 pounds]. I’m going to destroy the ‘Pitbull’ legacy. A.J. will be the end of it. ‘Mercenary’ McKee.”

At that point, Patricio waded back into the fray to remind McKee of Michael Chandler, who made similar threats in the past only to get knocked out by Patricio in 61 seconds.

“The last one who said that, I beat him in one minute,” Patricio said.

“Dude, you didn’t make it out of two minutes [in our first fight],” McKee replied. “You didn’t make it out of two minutes. Make it to the second round [on Friday]. Let me know .”

if you’re able to make it through the second round.

“Be ready,” Patricio responded. “That’s it.”

Patricky tweeted the video and said, “Patricio won’t win the title back, but AJ can move up after me to take a beating too, but he’s always welcome .”

Video of that clip can be seen below.

If Monday’s press conference is any indication, McKee is confident in his chances.

The undefeated 27-year-old vowed to finish Patricio within the first two rounds at Bellator 277 before he moves up to 155 pounds to hunt down his second “Pitbull” brother.

“I walked the dog already, so why not twice?” McKee said. I know that they love a walk .”

Full video of the press conference can be seen below.