Antonio Mckee — "We Put the Beat-Down on the Get-Down."

© Marc Wickert
30 Jan. 2007

IFL's Jerry Milani introduces the Sabres' new welterweight star, Antonio McKee, and I ask him if he's ready now to answer some questions. "All right, let's kick it," says McKee. Already the mood Antonio sets has a feel more like the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge setting than an MMA pre-fight conference. This is going to be a lot of fun.

And although internet stats say he was born in Las Vegas, Antonio disputes this: "No, no, man; I was born in the jungle – this is Mandingo Warrior you're talking to. I fell out of a tree and I was raised by the environment."

According to Antonio, he has since been reformed from his jungle ways and runs the Lakewood Bodyshop Center with his wife in Lakewood California, where his MMA gym is also located. "We fix bodies over there, we break bodies and change body parts."

The Mandingo Warrior also clarifies that he didn't take up a fighting art, but rather, the art took him up: "I've been fighting just because… I didn't even know what it was, I just did it because I could. That's how my cultures ran – that's how we get down."

In an earlier interview with Ken Yasuda at, Ken said to watch out for the new Sabres team he was going to come back with in 2007, warning that they would be a force to be reckoned with. Antonio agrees: "Oh, man, we're full of whip-ass… We put it all together – there's a science to this. This is no regular stuff you're dealing with… You're dealing with 'blacktacular' stuff; you're dealing with native warriors. We've got this all locked up, baby, we're going to show you something…

"On Friday night, at about 10.15, I'm going to show you something. I'm going to start it out and lead the pack – the Mandingo Warrior is going to handle some business. This is what I do; this is what you pay me to do what I do, because I'm good at it."

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Article written by Marc Wickert

Marc Wickert is one of the world's most respected martial arts journalists.

For years his articles have been published in America, Europe, Australasia, and on the acclaimed website.

Having interviewed some of the most elite combatants of the No-Holds-Barred inner sanctum, and a hybrid fight system's instructor in his own right, Marc Wickert is also author of the now-famous self-defense manual - The Book.