Knee Injury Jeopardizes A.J. McKee’s Spot in Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix

By: Tristen Critchfield
Mar 4, 2020

One of the top contenders in Bellator MMA’s featherweight grand prix may not be able to continue on into the semifinals as originally expected.

According to a report from The Athletic, A.J. McKee suffered a complete tear of the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during a victory over Derek Campos in the grand prix quarterfinals at Bellator 236 on Dec. 21. McKee underwent surgery in January and hopes of continuing in the tournament, but as of now, his status is uncertain.

McKee is supposed to face Darrion Caldwell in the semifinals of the bracket, but a date has not been determined for that fight.

“It happened in the first 30 seconds of the fight,” McKee told “I threw the spinning heel kick, and when I threw that spinning heel kick, I fell. I fell on my ankle, I didn’t land on my feet, so from there it’s like taking the support out of a building. It tumbled and it went from my ankle to my knee, and then from my knee to my hip and my shoulder. So it was like a whip effect. Immediately, my entire leg just went numb.”

McKee has compiled a 16-0 record while competing exclusively under the Bellator MMA banner. The 24-year-old Team Bodyshop product owns other notable triumphs over the likes of Georgi Karakhanyan, Pat Curran, John Teixeira and Justin Lawrence in the California-based promotion.

The featherweight grand prix semifinals will continue at Bellator 241, as Patricio Freire meets Pedro Carvalho in the main event, while Daniel Weichel takes on Emmanuel Sanchez in another featured bout.

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