(You know it’s crazy when Antonio McKee makes a face like someone *else* is out their damn mind. Props: ProMMANow)
Antonio McKee’s long awaited (by McKee himself) and briefly rumored (by McKee himself) Octagon debut is scheduled to go down this weekend at UFC 125. The 40-year-old motormouth will take on Jacob Volkmann on the undercard of Saturday’s "Resolution" card in Vegas and it’s a fight he frankly better win, lest his years of trash-talk appear all for naught. Luckily for us, the grapple-first, ask-questions-later McKee isn’t letting his impending UFC entry get in the way of his on-going monologue with the world at large. Nope, he wastes little time this week making some typically farfetched comparrisons to Todd Martin in a sprawling and fairly entertaining long-form narrative at Sherdog.com.
“I feel like I’m the Muhammad Ali of MMA,” McKee says within the first three or four paragraphs. “I feel like I’m the Don King of MMA. I feel like I’m the Tupac Shakur of MMA. I’m the mouth, the talent, the brains, and I’m also the business side. Where does that put me? That puts me as one of the all-time greatest black mixed martial arts fighters.”
Huh, “greatest black MMA fighters” is a Top 10 list we’ve never even considered before. Consider that one tucked away for a rainy day.
For the most part, McKee recycles the same old stories for the Dog about how he had to go to church and ask God’s forgiveness for beating Luciano Azevedo so badly in his final MFC lightweight title defense. He also details his master plan for domination of the UFC 155-pound division. As you well know, there’s really only one way for McKee to fully sum up his own greatness: In the third person.
“I’m going to take them out one at a time,” McKee says “Who’s going to beat McKee at 155? Only way I lose is if I’m not in shape or I get caught. Whose wrestling is better than mine? Gray Maynard? Volkmann? I’m going to make Volkmann look like nothing. We thought Volkmann could wrestle. Volkmann can’t wrestle.”
McKee also re-re-re-details his past belief that he wasn’t getting paid enough on the independent circuit to try very hard. With the financial motivation offered by the UFC however, he’s willing to give it his all inside the Octagon. To hear McKee tell it, it sounds like the confession booth down at his local church is going to be busy for some time to come.
“I knew what the UFC was looking for previously and I wasn’t, at the time, willing to put that out there for the amount of money being paid,” McKee says. “It wasn’t worth it to me, as a young man, to go out and put on a monkey show for two or three thousand dollars. I would rather win a decision and walk away with not a scratch on me. But with these incentives, absolutely, it changes things. I’m going to try to knock Volkmann’s head off his shoulders.”
While we’re not exactly sure what makes trying to finish fights in smaller promotions a “monkey show” while trying to grind out decisions is somehow a more respectable option, we admire the man’s pragmatism. McKee is obviously a dude who values his own talents – not to mention his own future cognitive abilities – and if you want to see all those skills on display, you’re damn sure gonna pay him for it. Can’t argue with that.
The rub, though, is this: Prior to his debut in the UFC, we’ve had no way to know if McKee is accurately assessing his own abilities. It is, after all, an aptitude that very few fighters possess. Now we’re finally going to get a good look at exactly where he stands in the world 155-pound rankings. That’s a prospect that should be enticing to nearly any MMA fan. Just like most things involving Antonio McKee, it’s a prospect that is exciting to Antonio McKee as well.
“Some fighters I feel sorry for, but I take my hat off to them. At 50, 60 years old, I still want to be a dad and play basketball. I don’t want to be walking around here, shaking my head, not knowing who I am and my memory’s shot,” McKee says. “The moment I get a good ass whipping, I’m done. I just want to know if I’m the best fighter in the world or if I’m a bunch of hot air.”
We do too, Antonio, we do too.