One of Bellator MMA's brightest young prospects has his next assignment, though it may not be the fight he wants.
Monday, Bellator revealed that undefeated A.J. McKee will return to action at Bellator 182, set for Aug. 25 at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. “The Mercenary” will take on Blair Tugman in a featherweight contest.
The McKee-Tugman bout will be part of the Bellator 182 main card, which airs live on Spike following the card's preliminaries streaming on Spike.com. The event is headlined by a welterweight clash between former Bellator champion Andrey Koreshkov and Chidi Njokuani.
The booking is notable as the 22-year-old McKee, son of longtime MMA veteran Antonio McKee, has recently become embroiled in a feud with fellow unbeaten Bellator prospect James Gallagher, a training partner of Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight king Conor McGregor at SBG Ireland, exchanging public unpleasantries with one for nearly six months.
After McKee's last win in April, a 75-second head kick knockout of Dominic Mazzotta at Bellator 178, McKee called Gallagher a “puppy dog” and “a joke.”
Tugman has won three straight, last besting Tom English via third-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 178, the same night McKee knocked out Mazzotta. The victory brought “The Bull Shark's” Bellator mark to 5-2.