EXCLUSIVE | Antonio McKee opens up on training Chuck Liddell for Tito Ortiz rematch
Antonio McKee coached Chuck Liddell for his comeback fight with Tito Ortiz. Unfortunately, this comeback didn’t end well for “The Iceman”, as he was stopped by Ortiz in the first round.
Since then, Liddell and McKee have taken some blowback from the combat sports community. Having spent the last eight weeks with Chuck Liddell in the lead-up to the fight, McKee has grown fond of the Hall of Famer, so when the fans and media had harsh words for him, McKee wasn’t pleased.
“It was a great honor to work with Chuck Liddell in this last training camp,” Antonio McKee told BJPenn.com. “I was really surprised about some of the feedback and some of the slandering I got regarding Chuck’s training. Joe Rogan, Brendan Schaub, Dana White, and a couple of other individuals saying a lot of stuff that just didn’t make sense to me. Although I did understand what they were trying to say, it was more about how they said it.”
Many MMA personalities voiced their concern over Liddell’s KO loss, and fairly so. However, the backlash that McKee has gotten has been off-base, as all he did was get Chuck Liddell into incredible shape.
“This man was trained down to the science”, McKee said, detailing the approach he took to training Liddell. “A lot of people don’t realize how technical I am with training my fighters and monitoring them and reading their pulse, their heart rate. Basically just monitoring their overall wellbeing.”
As far as what Antonio McKee was able to do with Chuck Liddell – it’s nothing short of remarkable. Liddell put in an eight-week fight camp after eight years off.
“Chuck made a lot of improvement from when he first came,” McKee explained. “So I was pretty comfortable with him fighting. We all know that when the chin is gone, it is gone. But his training was dialed into a science.”
“You got to understand when you’re training one of the greatest fighters in the world that has received as much trauma to the brain as Chuck’s had you have to train that fighter differently,” he continued. “Chuck is a warrior. He will always be a warrior. So I didn’t have to train him to go and fight, I had to train him to take care of himself. To keep his heart rate down, to relax, to breath. I had to get him to understand that it’s his job to not get hit now.”
For Antonio McKee, it’s now back to the drawing board. He will be gearing up for a comeback of his own soon, but first his son AJ will be fighting at Bellator 212 on December 14.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/3/2018.
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