A planned lightweight scrap between Shinya Aoki
McKee has been scratched from
Dream’s “Fight for Japan” card, and the organization is
currently seeking a replacement opponent for Dream’s lightweight
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had withdrawn from the bout due to visa issues.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.