A.J. McKee had some harsh words for Ireland’s James Gallagher following McKee’s big win over Justin Lawrence at Bellator 197.
Fighting Justin Lawrence to a three-round unanimous decision (30-27 on all three judge’s scorecards) Friday night in St. Charles, MO, A.J. McKee kept his perfect record intact. He owns the longest win streak in Bellator, with eleven straight wins. Each and every one of those has come in Bellator, where McKee has spent his entire professional MMA career. After Friday night’s big win in the co-main event at Bellator 197, McKee discussed his performance — and had some harsh words for Ireland’s James Gallagher, who he’d like next.
“I was definitely tested,” McKee said of Friday’s bout against Lawrence.
“Justin Lawrence came out there, I didn’t expect him to kick as hard as he kicks,” he continued. “He was a strong opponent, he kept coming which I expected. I knew I had to break him, and at the end of the day, that’s what I felt I did. I pushed the pace, second round he wasn’t coming forward as much, third round, I just escaped.”
In McKee’s estimation, there was no need to put himself in danger in the third. “Why go in there and fight and bang with somebody dangerous if you don’t have to, you’ve got the fight in the bag? Take your winnings and walk home” he said. “I’m trying to fight smart, and stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and stay undefeated. Which I’m going to do. Doing that, you’ve got to fight strategically.”
When asked who he’d like next, McKee again directed his ire at SBG Ireland’s James Gallagher. The two have been feuding for over a year; Gallagher has called out McKee in the past.
“I still want to fight James Gallagher,” McKee told reporters following Bellator 197 on Friday. “For me, that’s a must. That’s just manhood. If I call you a p***** 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 f****** a******, what a p****!’ So hey – I’m a p****, 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 f****** country, I already beat up your teammate and I trained for three weeks.”
“This is what I’m capable of when I actually train,” he added. “This is a full camp, and he knows it. That’s why he’s ducking. That’s why he pulled out of his last fight. He isn’t hurt. That’s why he wants to fight in London, he’s not hurt, he’s the true p****, running scared. And I want to expose him.”
When or if the fight happens remains to be seen. Gallagher, as alluded to by McKee in his comments, pulled out of a headlining bout in Hungary earlier this month. He has since campaigned to be part of Bellator 200 in London, but that would likely be too soon to book this grudge match. In the meantime, McKee also reiterated that he wants to fight on a card alongside his father and coach, Antonio McKee.
Catch the full Bellator 197 post-fight scrum with A.J. McKee above.