July 29, 2010
Never heard the name Antonio McKee? Most casual fans of mixed martial arts haven't. The 40-year-old with a 24-3-2 record has never reached the bigs or gotten the exposure he feels he deserves. Part of the problem may be that the takedown artist, who hasn't lost since 2003, has turned in decision victories in 12-of-14 fights. So McKee is pulling out all the stops to get eyes on his next fight saying if he doesn't finish Luciano Azevedo on Sept. 10, he'll retire. McKee told Fanhouse's Ben Fowlkes:
"This is what I said. I said, if this fight goes to a decision and it's a boring decision, I retire. If this fight is not the fight of the night, I retire. Basically, if I don't go out there and put on a show, just destroy and annihilate this guy, then I'm done. If it's one of those matches where I take him down, ground and pound, holding him there, I retire. I'm done. [...]
"I don't have to stand up and get hit in the face. No one can stop me from taking them down and no one can hit me when we're standing. What the fans want to see are the knockouts, the blood, the gory stuff. They want to see that, and I'm not about that."
Without a loss for seven years, why hasn't he been signed by the UFC? Pointing to the popularity of ground and pound fighters like Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre and Sean Sherk, McKee says those guys have one thing going for them. McKee, again from Fanhouse:
"I think a lot of it is racist. And I'm not saying racist against all black people necessarily, but racist towards me. You have these white guys who do the same exact thing, why doesn't anyone say this stuff about them?"
McKee says no one gives the UFC welterweight champ guff for his deliberate style.
"Georges St. Pierre, he doesn't even get hit anymore. And afterwards, he says, 'I'm not a brawler; I'm a mixed martial artist.' And then you have people talking about how great he is. I do exactly what you saw him do, but better!"
"The guy that had stood with them the longest there was Yves Edwards. He lost one fight, got triangled, then had a stoppage due to a cut against Joe Stevenson and they cut him. What? You got white guys who have been knocked out three or four times and keep coming back. Chuck [Liddell] has been knocked out so many times they need to make a stone with his name on it."
Maybe this stunt will work. Who knows? Is McKee right? Did he play it smart? By taking no chances over the years, he got wins but he got no one's attention. Congrats on a good career.
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