A.J. McKee made a spectacular entrance for his Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN main event matchup with Roberto de Souza, and he made sure that he went all out on his outfit.
McKee defeated “Satoshi” to cap off a 5-0 sweep for Team Bellator on Saturday at the historic Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. “Mercenary” made his way to the ring in a full-on samurai suit and delivered a samurai-like performance in going right into the fire with the submission specialist to earn the victory.
The victory will go down as a “top-three” win for McKee in his career, and the walkout just added to it.
“I did a lot of research for it, [it cost] a nice little hefty penny,” McKee told MMA Fighting. “It was a hefty penny I spent on it, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I spent $100,000 on it.”
McKee ended 2022 with a move up to the lightweight division, earning a pair of victories, including a wild decision win over Spike Carlyle at Bellator 286 in October.
Fighting at Saitama Super Arena was a once in a lifetime opportunity for McKee, and he wanted to make sure he took full advantage for the entire experience, including his memorable entrance.
“I found this spot online, just looking at different samurai places, looking at Katana [swords] and stuff and they were like, ‘Dude, you can’t get a Katana,’” McKee told MMA Fighting. “‘To get a Katana, you have to register it to the damn police,’ and I was like, that’s fine by me. They were like, ‘You’re not getting one, but you could find an armor suit.’
“I wanted armor, too. I’m preparing for battle, so I figured it was something I could relate to their culture with, and with my culture at the same time. I’m in Japan one time, so let’s just go full send on it. The other suits I was looking at, they didn’t give me that preparing for battle feel like this real deal, alligator coated samurai suit.”
Spending six-figures on a walkout might be crazy to some people. But for McKee, seeing the reaction to it, and then finding out the collectible money with his face that fell from the rafters is being resold, made the juice worth the squeeze in the end.
“Definitely [it was worth it],” McKee explained. “The dude told me that the only other person that has bought a suit like this was, ‘It was a King, and I can’t tell you who it was.’ I didn’t want to know, I was like, ‘You can tell everyone I bought this one, I’m not worried about it.’
“But it was dope, man. That’s going to be something I put in my man cave, it will just kind of kick it there with the trophy in front of it with a nice little wall behind it.”