When Jake Paul released his diss track aimed primarily at UFC president Dana White, there were a few familiar faces alongside him in the video — including Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee’s father, Antonio McKee.
Of course, Antonio had a successful fighting career of his own before passing the torch to his son, who jokingly said “I plead the fifth” when asked for his reaction to Paul’s scathing video directed at White.
“It’s comical,” McKee told MMA Fighting. “It’s f*cking entertainment to me. Nobody challenges Dana, so for him to challenge Dana like that, I find it entertaining.
“It was a little uncomfortable for me to have my father in that video, in that. It’s no hard feelings. At the end of the day, it’s business. This is entertainment.”
The song highlighted Paul’s many issues with White and the UFC. Paul has targeted both for fighter pay discrepancies, especially where overall revenue is concerned, with the biggest MMA promotion in the world keeping the lion’s share of the profits rather than giving more to the athletes.
Paul has frequently engaged in a war of words with White over social media and through interviews, which was a huge driver to the diss track being created in the first place.
“The kid’s doing good sh*t,” McKee said of Paul. “At the end of the day whether you hate him or you like him, he’s entertaining and people are talking about him. Dana doesn’t mention f*cking anyone outside the UFC but he mentions Jake Paul. Jake’s doing something right.
“For me, it’s entertainment. I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny. The lyrics though, those aren’t that funny. It’s good. It’s entertaining. At the end of the day, I don’t know if Jake has intents on stepping into that cage — if he does, he knows where I’m at and he better come train with us. Outside of that, it’s entertaining.”
According to McKee, his father has been banging the drum for many of the same issues that Paul has highlighted in his ongoing battle against White and the UFC, so that certainly resonated with him when seeing the video.
It’s doubtful Paul’s tirades will suddenly force the UFC’s hand to make significant changes, but McKee can’t help but be impressed by the attention the 25-year-old social influencer-turned-boxer has been receiving for speaking out on the subject.
“I think personally, for my dad stepping into the video, the things he was speaking on in the video, my dad’s been talking about fighter’s unions and unifying belts and just more things for the fighters,” McKee said. “That’s where I can say boxing is a full-bred sport versus mixed martial arts, I kind of see it as entertainment but it’s becoming a sport to a different level.
“For me, I love what he’s doing. He’s bringing a lot of attention to the sport. I guess some people would say it’s bad attention, but I say it’s good attention because of the flaws and the things that he’s pointing out. I don’t like to speak upon things too much in the fight world because I want to give it opportunity to actually grow.”
McKee says regardless of the promotion — UFC, Bellator, or anybody else — he would love to see more protections added for the fighters, like pensions or healthcare, but he’s also allowing time for more benefits of that nature to develop over time.
He also knows that right now he doesn’t have as much influence to truly shine a spotlight on those issues, but he promises that with time, he’ll get there.
“For me, in due time,” McKee said. “I feel like with a little bit more star power, a little bit more following, people behind me, just getting to know me personally for who I am, I think that will be a big key to the MMA fans and showing them who I am, the possibilities and the things I want to do in this sport.
“I think step one is unify those belts so I can go out there and show who ‘The Mercenary’ really is.”