A.J. McKee popped champagne at the post-fight press conference for Bellator 277, but there wasn’t much to celebrate about after his unanimous decision loss to Patricio Pitbull.
McKee seemed more resigned to moving on, belt or no belt, after his first loss as a professional. And that meant moving on from the division in which he held the title until recently – and a rematch with Pitbull.
“Dude, you all saw the first fight,” McKee told reporters after the event on Saturday. “I starched him three times, literally, in two minutes. The second fight, I don’t care. But yeah, 55s, why not? I’ll fight him again. I don’t turn down fights.”
Except, of course, if it was a run-of-the-mill challenger at 145 pounds like Adam Boric.
“Like I’ve been telling you, I’m done with 45, unless we get some superfights going,” McKee said. I’ve been at [featherweight] for years, cutting a lot of weight. I don’t think people like to see what goes into it. It’s a lot of work, not just for myself, my team, my family. Yeah, it’s rough seeing me get down to 45s.”
Asked about a potential rematch with McKee, who submitted him in the opening round of their first meeting this past July, Pitbull indicated he wasn’t flexible about the weight class for a trilogy.
“The featherweight division is my division” said Pitbull, who captured the featherweight title for the third time. “I fought at lightweight because Michael Chandler. My brother [Patricky PItbull] has the belt. I don’t care about that division. If he wants to fight me again, he has to come to the featherweight [division]. That’s it.”
“And,” Pitbull’s coach Eric Albarracin added, “it’s got to be in Brazil this time. No more fighting in California, his home town.”
From McKee’s perspective, favoritism was anything but the order of the night. He reacted with shock as judges awarded Freire a unanimous decision by scores of 49-46 and 48-47 twice. The first score was most perplexing to the now-former champ, who declared, “Where were they at?”
“I don’t know. I’ve got my own personal opinions. At the end of the day, it’s back to the drawing board. S***, I want my rematch at 55s. What’s up.
“Lightweights are faster, stronger, bigger. I’m going to unleash that beast, monster style, baby.”