While it has been rumored for weeks, Antonio McKee from the Tokyo Sabers is officially out of the IFL’s welterweight World Grand Prix event that kicks off on Nov. 3 in Chicago.
Pat Healy of the Nevada Lions has been named as McKee’s replacement in the event and he will enter the WGP as the number four seed. He will take on number one seeded Delson Heleno from Renzo Gracie’s New York Pitbulls in the first round.
While the IFL has not offered a reason for McKee’s departure, it is related to contractual issues. Most of the IFL contracts run year-to-year but the full year contract did not cover the full duration of the year in which the WGP events will be taking place.
McKee’s plan was to leave the IFL and fight Jake Shields on an Oct. 19 card in San Francisco at the Cow Palace that is promoting itself as being aired on pay-per-view. The last I had heard was that McKee actually won’t be on the show and Shields isn’t even listed on the card any longer.
I’m not really sure what McKee is hoping to accomplish by leaving the IFL on short notice in this situation. There’s a lot of fighters on the IFL roster that other promotions would be hot after if they were to become available but I’m not sure about McKee’s market value. He’s a good fighter with an impressive record on paper but he’s not known for having the most exciting matches. It looks like he’s taking a bit of a gamble here.