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22nd Aug 2018

AJ McKee reacts to James Gallagher’s first professional loss

These two have been calling each other out for ages

Ben Kiely

AJ McKee

The last time James Gallagher fought on Irish soil, he called out AJ McKee.

After submitting Kirill Medvedovsky at Bellator 173 from Belfast, James Gallagher wasted no time in calling out fellow featherweight prospect AJ McKee. ‘The Strabanimal’ grabbed hold of Jimmy Smith’s microphone and spat venom.

“AJ McKee, you’re a fucking pussy and you’re next. London 19th of May, I’m going to strangle you. You come here bitching out on your teammate. Come here and I’ll fucking show you who’s real. I’m real and you’re getting done in fucking one!”

Flash forward to Bellator 197. After defeating Justin Lawrence via unanimous decision, McKee informed reporters backstage that he still wanted to fight his Irish rival.

“For me, that’s a must. That’s just manhood. If I call you a pussy right now, you’re going to feel some type of way about it. You’re not going to want to interview me, you’re going to be like ‘oh he’s a fucking asshole, what a pussy!’ So hey, I’m a pussy, you keep pulling out of fights, it is what it is bro. Sign on the dotted line. I don’t care when, where, how, your gym, your fucking country, I already beat up your teammate and I trained for three weeks.”

It appeared as though there was no love lost between the two rising stars. That’s despite the photographic evidence that suggested otherwise.

There goes the 0

At Bellator 204, Gallagher lost his undefeated record. Ricky Bandejas brutally knocked him out in the first round to put his title shot hopes on ice. McKee didn’t watch the fight live, but as he told James Lynch, he knew all about it at the time.

“Dude, my phone wouldn’t stop, bro. It got to a point where between my phone and my Instagram going crazy, I had to block the dude. It’s irrelevant to me at this point now. Hey, I have nothing to say. Proof is in the pudding. If you want to keep that 0 on that record, you’ve got to be willing to put in that work and be prepared at all times. When you step in that cage, we don’t just have punches to worry about. We have elbows, kicks, submissions. There’s a lot to worry about in there. You’ve got to go in there with your A game at all times.”

The difference

McKee was surprised that Bandejas was the betting underdog for the bout. He knew from Bandejas’ demeanour that he was going to cause problems for the Tyrone native.

“That’s a man who’s got kids at home and he’s got to put food on that table. You could see it in his eyes, he was ready, he was hungry and he was prepared. Gallagher, he’s a little shit talker, you know? It’s about time he got his mouth shut up. I just wish I could have been the one to do it.”

“I just feel like that’s just trying to be a little Conor so much. At this point, he’s irrelevant, Brian Moore’s irrelevant, Conor may be relevant a little bit longer. But hey, within the next year or two, AJ McKee’s going to be the most relevant MMA fighter there is. That’s just what it is.”

McKee (11-0) takes on John ‘ Macapa’ Teixeira (21-3-2) in the main event of Bellator 205 on September 21.