Antonio McKee beat Brian Cobb but lost his title. | Photo: Jacob Bos
The Maximum Fighting Championship recently announced that lightweights Antonio McKee and Brian Cobb were released by the Canadian promotion for missing weight prior to their MFC 32 title bout.
McKee officially tipped the scales seven pounds over the contracted 155-pound limit. As a result, his planned lightweight title defense was downgraded to a non-title catchweight affair, and he was stripped of the belt by the organization prior to the contest.
“I was thoroughly disgusted by the lack of professionalism that Antonio McKee showed towards the belt he was scheduled to defend as well as the Maximum Fighting Championship as an organization,” said MFC President Mark Pavelich in an official statement released Tuesday.
McKee earned a unanimous decision victory over Cobb at the Jan. 27 event, which aired live on HDNet from the Mayfield Inn Trade and Convention Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“It was unacceptable behavior for a champion to demonstrate. On top of that, Antonio never really apologized for missing weight that badly. That was the end of things for him with the MFC,” Pavelich continued. “That’s why he was stripped of his belt immediately and told that he would never fight in the MFC again. I hope it’s a message to all the other fighters in the MFC.”
McKee, however, sees the situation differently. According to the former champion, both Pavelich and Cobb knew McKee would miss weight due to illness. McKee says he and his camp made the conscious decision to “not push the envelope” and try to make weight, as the fighter was experiencing severe lightheadedness and stomach pains.
“[Pavelich] knew I wasn’t going to make weight before the fight because I told him I wasn’t going to make weight. I was sick. I had f---ing kidney issues. My stomach was messed up. They already knew that,” McKee told Sherdog.com on Wednesday.
“I called Brian Cobb and told him that I wasn’t going to make weight and that he wouldn’t be fighting for the title,” McKee said. “The surprise to me was that Brian Cobb didn’t make weight. He stepped on the scale first, and he was a half-pound over. I stepped on the scale and weighed 159.8 pounds [before the weigh-in]. I started rehydrating, because my organs were starting to give me issues, and I weighed in at 162.”
According to McKee, the claim that he did not apologize for missing weight is a false one.
“If you look at my history, I’ve always made weight. My body composition was a little off this time, and I miscalculated by five pounds,” McKee said. “I apologized to HDNet. They have it on tape. I apologized to Mark Pavelich, and then I said I didn’t care for the way Mark Pavelich handled this [situation], and I wouldn’t be surprised if HDNet cut him within the next year.”
McKee also asserts that Cobb’s release came about in part due to the ex-champion’s interest in what the penalty would be for the challenger’s inability to make weight, considering the stiffness of his own punishment.
“[Pavelich] was lying. He put out all this stuff about how I didn’t make weight and he was hitting me over the head for 20 percent of my purse, but what he never said was that Brian Cobb didn’t make weight,” said McKee. “When I got my attorney involved, they retracted all of that stuff and said that Cobb didn’t make weight.
“The question was asked, ‘What’s the consequence for Brian Cobb not making weight? [Pavelich] said that if Cobb lost, he would kick [Cobb] out, and if [Cobb] won, then he would keep him. That’s not a very harsh punishment for someone who didn’t make weight for a title fight.”
Additionally, McKee says that while he was officially released due to his recent weight-cut issue, he believes he received his MFC walking papers for other reasons.
“The problem is that Mark Pavelich doesn’t have anyone who can beat me, and it costs him a lot of money to bring in guys to fight me. That’s the real reason why I’m not in the MFC, because he can’t afford me anymore,” said McKee.
“I still came [to fight] as a warrior and champion and gave them one of the best fights I’ve ever had in the MFC. At the end of the day, it’s about my health and well-being. Mark Pavelich could give a s--t if I die, or my kidneys shut down, or I need a new liver. He could give less than a rat’s ass.”
Additionally, lightweight James Haddad was cut after missing the mark by two pounds. The Canadian fighter was outpointed by Dan Ring, marking Haddad’s second loss in three fights.