A largely respectful pre-fight press conference almost turned into a fight after two-division champ Patricio Freire and A.J. McKee’s verbal barbs quickly escalated at the Bellator 263 press conference.
Freire, who defends his featherweight title on Saturday in Los Angeles, ended the press conference early when he stormed out of the room, shouting at McKee after the undefeated challenger snatched his belt in the fracas. Security officials intervened, and Thursday’s press conference ended with a staredown between co-headliners Emmanuel Sanchez and Mads Burnell, who brought none of the bad blood into the gathering.
The confrontation broke out as Freire and McKee argued over who’d crossed the line in pre-fight trash talk promoting the $1 million finals of the Bellator featherweight grand prix. McKee said Freire had crossed out his picture when he asked for an autograph and took note of how the two-division champ promised to beat him in front of his father. Freire replied that McKee’s father and coach, MMA vet Antonio McKee, had told the media he was on performance-enhancers. McKee said he would beat Freire in front of his wife and children.
It wasn’t long before the two were on their feet with Bellator President Scott Coker trying to keep them apart.
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