A.J. McKee is never one to back down from a fight even when it comes to his past run-ins with members of Team Diaz.
The most recent altercation took place during the week of the rematch between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley when McKee’s friend and teammate Anthony Taylor was taking on UFC and Bellator veteran Chris Avila in a featured bout on the undercard. During the weigh-ins for the card, McKee and his stable mates got into a physical altercation with Avila, Nate Diaz and others from their team before security intervened to stop a bad situation from getting far worse.
In the aftermath of that incident, the reigning Bellator featherweight champion detailed his side of the ordeal while addressing any leftover beef with Diaz and his team from what happened.
“I wouldn’t call it beef,” McKee said. “Anthony ‘Pretty Boy’ [Taylor] is not to be touched in my presence, period. Out of respect for me or whoever the hell you want to put respect on it for, he’s not to be touched in my presence. I’m not too fond of Chris [Avila] or Nate [Diaz], I don’t like bullies.
“So ya’ll try to walk around and bully Anthony, that’s not going to fly with me. So every encounter we have, it’s been a little touchy. I wouldn’t call it a beef cause if it was a real beef, it would get handled.”
— BroBible (@BroBible) December 17, 2021
According to McKee, the near brawl in Tampa, Fla. was just the latest incident he’s had with member of Team Diaz, which he’s tried to settle directly in the past.
When it appeared the situation was about to turn volatile, McKee says he just reached out to Diaz to see if there was a problem so they could address it — through words or perhaps through actions.
“I had a previous issue with one of his boys a couple of years back and just O.G. style, I sent Nate a text like ‘what’s good?’” McKee explained. “I know your boy is UFC, I’m Bellator, bro, we’ve been in the game before that. If we’ve got an issue, let’s go backyard style like how we originated and get down, bro. Of course, no response. Some people just ain’t cut from that cloth like that, you know what I mean, versus my dad — we know that man’s crazy as hell.
“So I know I’ve got it in me but I’ve got it tamed a little bit. Disrespect, it only goes so far and I now feel disrespected and that’s when it becomes a problem and that’s why I asked Nate ‘what’s good, we’ve got an issue?’ and he just kind of laughs. That’s not a no but that’s not a yes, what’s up? Every time I see Nate that’s the question. We’ve got issues? What’s good? Is there a problem, bro? I don’t think it’s a real issue. If it does come down to an issue, we can let these [hands] do the talking.”
While he’s not exactly looking to start trouble by targeting Team Diaz, McKee welcomes the chance to face off against anybody they could throw at him in the cage in Bellator MMA.
At the top of the list would be Nate Diaz, who is coming to the end of his current contract with the UFC as he seeks to test free agency in the near future.
“He’s got one fight left on his contract — maybe I get him on Showtime and get him over there,” McKee said. “I love family affair ass whoopings. I know Chris is Nate’s little pocket holder. So maybe I’ll beat him up and then beat up Nate after. I don’t really care. Like I said, I love to fight. At the end of the day, we can’t talk about it, we’re both fighters, we can settle it like O.G.s.”
Truth be told, McKee will readily admit that he grew up admiring both of the Diaz brothers as he was coming up in the sport and he’s never really had any issues whatsoever with Nick.
That said, the 27-year-old featherweight isn’t opposed to making a big paycheck to fight somebody like Nate if he’s interested.
“Bring that ass here, boy,” McKee said about Diaz. “It’s weird cause I grew up watching Nick and Nate. Favorite fighters since I was a kid. Since my dad was fighting, they were the kids in the game. Now I’m the kid in the game and they’re the older guys in the game. I had an opportunity to meet Nick. Nick walked over and introduced himself, while Nate and Chris Avila are over there doing their little brother thing. You know how little brothers are. That’s just the way I see it.
“No real beef there. It’s big brother, little brother. Little brothers will always be little brothers until the big brother puts the little brother in check.”