Bellator's Keith Lee Gained Nearly 1 million TikTok followers through Positivity

‘Hey, my name is Keith’

It’s a simple introduction, but one that’s proven effective for Bellator bantamweight fighter Keith Lee as his career outside the cage has taken on an expected life of its own.

Lee, 24, whose claim to fame for so long was, “Kevin Lee’s brother,” has made a name for himself in the world of TikTok. In the midst of Bellator 265 fight week, Lee’s account currently sits at over 860,000 followers – and is increasing at a rapid rate.

When Lee created his TikTok account in November 2020 during recovery from an injury and staph infection, he wasn’t thinking anything would come from it. It was never his goal to become a social media influencer. So how did it happen, then? Well, it just came naturally. According to Lee, he didn’t change anything. He just acted like himself. The only thing different was that a camera was recording.

“It’s organic,” Lee told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “It’s natural. … It is who I am. I just turned on a camera. I didn’t have a script. I don’t have a team working with me. It’s me and my wife and my sister. We literally sat around and I was like, ‘I’m going to start recording me cooking.’ … And they always believe in me. I have a really strong support system.”

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From instructional cooking videos to wholesome life experiences with his family to mental health awareness, Lee’s content has all revolved around one thing: positivity. During a period of time where MMA insults continue to get more personal, Lee thinks there’s a lesson to be learned when it comes to his success online. Positivity is something people buy into, it just needs to be presented to them in the right way.

“I know I have media day today,” Lee said. “Every single media outlet other than you is going to ask me to try and bad mouth my opponent. It’s been happening all week. It’s going to happen until I stop fighting. I already know how it goes. They want me to be the brash, mean guy and the second I come out and say something positive, it kind of goes to like, ‘Oh, OK, next question. Like, here you go, trying to be nice.’

“Again, I’m not trying to be nice. It’s just naturally who I am as a person and I just allow myself to be natural. I think that perspective comes across unique to other people and eventually, the people who aren’t on board yet are going to start to realize.”

In a day and age of TikTok and YouTube stars aspiring to test the waters in combat sports, Lee is the opposite. But the mesh of the two audiences is a powerful recipe – and Lee sits in a position to be that crossroads fighter. In fact, he almost participated in a recent bare-knuckle boxing event involving social media personalities.

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Good for him.!

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