We’ve seen a few MMA legends come out of retirement in recent years and another one looks set to make a return later this year as Antonio McKee, father of Bellator MMA’s A.J. McKee, looks set to make the walk to the cage one last time and create history with his son by fighting on the same evening.
Speaking exclusively to MMAUNO.com at the Team Bodyshop MMA gym in Lakewood, California yesterday, A.J. revealed the news that his father would be making a surprise return.
“Before the end of this year, I want to get the father and son fight out the way,” A.J. said. “By my birthday, in April, I want to have that belt around my waist. I go about four more fights before I get that belt around my waist, so, I’ll get that and keep breaking records. So far I think I’ve got the longest win streak in Bellator and almost probably the most finishes in Bellator so I’ll just keep racking them [up] and keep breaking records.”
A.J.’s ambitions to break records is obviously one shared by his father. The 22-year-old further added that he expects his father to fight in October, but that his participation in that same event isn’t yet confirmed given he’s already booked to fight Blair Tugman on August 25 at Bellator 182.
“Yeah no one in any professional sport has competed together besides baseball, but that’s baseball you know, it’s not so much of a physical contact sport like mixed martial arts,” A.J. said.
“For my father to be his age and be able to continue competing, he’s actually fighting October 7 so for him to be able to go out and do that, it’s a miracle you know.
It’s amazing, I can actually go out there be able to coach him and he coaches me. That’s more history you know. It’s something that no one ever before in any professional sport has done.”
Antonio, 47, hasn’t fought since November 2014 when he defeated Gadji Zaipulaev in a fight that took place in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. His 29-6-2 professional record began back in October 1999, but A.J. still believes his father has it in him to compete at a high level.
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“He catches me and nobody catches me,” A.J. said smiling. “He caught me with two body shots today and I always throw back, but I was just like, eugh, you got me. He laughs because he knows what I’m doing and when I’m going to do it before I’m going to do it, so he just catches me.
“I always try to catch him, but he just gives me that look like, ‘I got you, you know I know what you’re doing,’ I’m just like, ‘ahh.’ He’s a phenomenal coach and he’s one of the best coaches in the game.”