Despite recent statements from DREAM and ‘Mandingo’ himself, Antonio McKee will not be facing Shinya Aoki at Dream’s “Bantamweight Japan Tournament” event on May 29th in Saitama. Andrew Simon of HDNet first broke the bad news yesterday evening. Afterwards, MMAWeekly reported that the withdrawal was due to McKee being unable to secure a visa in time to travel and fight in Japan, though FEG USA’s Mike Kogan denied that the situation was visa-related.
With the show less than two weeks away, DREAM will have to pull a rabbit out of their hat to find Aoki an opponent. (And by “pull a rabbit out of their hat,” I mean “find a totally unqualified journeyman for Aoki to choke out within 90 seconds.” You know how these things go.) Previously rumored opponents Willamy Freire and Jamie Varner are also no-go’s due to visa issues and failed negotiations, respectively.
As for McKee, the former MFC lightweight champ hasn’t competed since his one-and-done appearance at UFC 125, in which he dropped a split-decision to Jacob Volkmann — a bout highlighted by McKee possibly biting Volkmann — and was swiftly fired by the UFC. He was supposed to defend his MFC title against Drew Fickett in late February, but had to withdraw due to a knee injury, and was stripped of his title. A brutal start to 2011 for ‘Dingo, but as long as he still has his reality show and tattooed man-nanny, we have no doubt that McKee will land on his feet.