Aaron Pico’s bumps on the road have been behind him for a few years. These days, he’s in the Bellator featherweight title conversation.
There is just one problem with that, however. Pico (9-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) has long said he would not fight his friend and former teammate AJ McKee (18-0 MMA, 18-0 BMMA), who won the 145-pound title from Bellator in July 2021 with a knockout of double champion Patricio Freire. And McKee said the same thing.
McKee said in late 2020 that for $ 100 million apiece, he and Pico would fight. This comment, after beating Darrion Caldwell in the semi-finals of the Bellator Featherweight Tournament en route to the title, was ironic given he knew it would be an insanely high salary.
Bellator president Scott Coker isn’t too worried, however, about what could happen if later this year Pico finds himself in contention for a title shot against McKee – who has yet to field his first defense.
“They obviously have a certain feeling about each other, which I totally respect,” Coker recently told MMA Junkie. “We just haven’t had this conversation on some level. What I mean by that is, I’m not sitting down with Aaron saying, ‘Aaron, do you want to do this? Do you want to do it? ‘ And, ‘If you get to that # 1 (competitor) spot, AJ will be there, and if you want to be the champion…’ None of those conversations have taken place.
“To me it’s like, let Aaron fight, keep fighting, keep doing his thing, and then if he gets to that point, then we’ll have a conversation with him.” But it is very clear that they do not want to fight. At some point, if Aaron can get to this, then we’ll probably have to have this conversation. This sport is so crazy – you never know. It could be perfectly aligned, and then something happens and you’re heading in a different direction. “
Pico suffered back-to-back knockout defeats in 2019. But since then he’s had five straight wins, including four saves. His decisive victory over Justin Gonzales at Bellator 271 last November was Gonzales’ first loss and the most publicized victory in Pico’s streak.
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