Former IFL standout welterweight fighter Antonio McKee has signed a three-fight contract with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship, the promotion announced earlier this week.
The signing signals McKee’s return to competitive mixed martial arts coming on the heels of a self-imposed hiatus that dates back to the summer of 2007. The standout wrestler has not fought since recording a split decision victory over Delson Heleno during the IFL championship semifinals at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on August 7 of that year.
McKee is 21-3-2 overall in MMA and was 4-0 while competing under the IFL banner. Heading into the promotion’s 2007 welterweight Grand Prix, McKee was the IFL’s number one ranked welterweight but never competed in the tournament after he parted ways with the promotion following a contract dispute.
A debut date for McKee has yet to be announcer. However, according to MFC’s website, McKee will mount his comeback as a lightweight.
“I’m going to be the baddest 155er on the planet,” McKee is quoted as saying in a release issued by the promotion. “I’ve accomplished a lot of things but I’ve always treated this as a sport. Now I’m going to treat this as entertainment and I’m going to show people who I really am. I’m not going to cover anything up anymore.
“Before I was always the good guy and being the good guy got me nothing but disrespect. You’re going to see who I really am now. I told my wife and kids that there are two sides to me – one professional and one street. I tried being a professional and I got called names and was called boring. Now I’m going to show everyone what I’m really about.”
Despite an impressive record, McKee has often found himself overlooked by both pundits and MMA fans alike due to a fighting style that relies heavily on his wrestling skills. However, McKee believes he is now a different fighter.
“People called me boring … you know what? They were right, I was boring,” he is quoted. “But now I’m going to show them what I’m capable of. Somewhere deep inside me there is someone that is to be feared and respected and I’m going to make it happen.”