Dream Rep: Aoki-McKee Off, Search for Replacement Underway


A planned lightweight scrap between Shinya Aoki and Antonio McKee has been scratched from Dream’s “Fight for Japan” card, and the organization is currently seeking a replacement opponent for Dream’s lightweight champion.

Sherdog.com confirmed the news with multiple sources on Tuesday. The event goes down May 29 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals of Dream’s 2011 bantamweight grand prix.

Initially, MMAJunkie.com reported on Monday that McKee (Pictured) had withdrawn from the bout due to visa issues. However, Dream official Mike Kogan asserted that visa problems were not the reason the fight fell apart.

According to Kogan, Monday’s report was how he found out that the fight was no longer a go.

“That’s actually why it upset me. I’ve got to read [on the Internet] that the guy who I fought for [to be on the card] is all of a sudden not fighting and making it sound like it’s beyond his control,” Kogan told Sherdog.com. “The visa issues were never a problem. I figure that part out first, before I book fighters. I have a very good travel agent that I’ve been working with forever on [acquiring] visas, even on last-minute notice. Here, we almost had three weeks, so it wasn’t an issue.”

Kogan elaborated, asserting that he attempted to remedy the situation even after the Monday report was published.

“On Monday morning, after that article came out, my travel agent was blowing up Antonio’s phone, saying, ‘Where are you? You’re supposed to be here with a passport,’” said Kogan. “A lot of fighters use the visa issue as an excuse, but unless the promoter is a complete moron, [the promoter] checks the visa stuff. What the fighters don’t realize is how that makes people look. I started getting all kinds of hate calls.

“With the Internet, the Japanese translate it and they read it, and it’s fresh. I get [calls from people saying], ‘You incompetent fools. You can't even secure a f--king visa for a fighter who you announced to fight?’ That’s why I got pissed off. I fought to get him on there and then I don’t even get the courtesy of a f--king phone call,” said Kogan. “He needs to come up with a better excuse as to why he isn’t fighting, because it isn’t the visa. As a matter of fact, I can get him his visa today. It’s still not too late. All he has to do is drive to [Los Angeles].”

According to Kogan, payment issues are not the source of the problem, either. Though several fighters have complained in the past that Dream has failed to pay them their due, Kogan noted that McKee would have been paid before the fight even took place.

“It’s not the payment issues, either. I had that secured, too,” said Kogan. “The money was going to be wired [to McKee] the day before the fight, right after he made weight.”

Sherdog.com confirmed on Tuesday with additional sources that McKee underwent knee surgery about three weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus. It is unclear at this time whether the injury contributed to McKee withdrawing from the bout. Sherdog.com contacted McKee on Tuesday, but the fighter had no comment on the matter.

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