Biography

Antonio De Carlo McKee Jr.

(born April 7, 1995), better known by his ring name A.J. McKee, is an American mixed martial artist currently competing in Bellator’s featherweight division, where he is the current Bellator Featherweight Champion. As of August 3, 2021 he is #1 in the Bellator men’s pound-for-pound rankings.

McKee faced Georgi Karakhanyan in the opening round of the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix on September 28 at Bellator 228. He was victorious via knockout just 8 seconds into the first round, advancing to the next round.

In the quarterfinals, McKee faced Derek Campos at Bellator 236 on December 21, 2019. He won the bout via third round submission to advance in the tournament.

In the semifinals, McKee was set to face Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 244 on June 6, 2020. However, the bout was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bout was rescheduled and took place at Bellator 253 on November 19. McKee won the fight via neck crank submission in round one, thus moving on to the Featherweight Grand Prix final.

In the final, McKee faced Bellator Featherweight Champion Patrício Freire at Bellator 263 on July 31, 2021 for the Grand Prix Title and $1 million dollar prize. McKee knocked down Pitbull early in the bout, and secured a guilliotine choke winning the bout via submission in round one, claiming the Bellator Featherweight Championship, and $1 million dollar prize in the process. The bout marked McKee’s last of his prevailing contract, but becoming the champion triggered a clause which extended the contract by one year or three fights.