On September 26, 2003 McGee earned a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 44: Undisputed against 6 ft. 8 in. Tim Sylvia in a match that was dubbed "The Battle of the Giants." McGee lost this fight via TKO in the first round. After the fight Tim Sylvia tested positive for steroids during a mandatory post-fight drug test and was stripped of his title. Even though his opponent was caught using performance-enhancing drugs, UFC denied McGee a rematch for the championship. As a result, McGee lost his passion for fighting.
"Tim Sylvia is a great fighter and the video tape doesn't lie, he beat the hell out of me," said McGee from his San Luis Obispo training camp. "Did the steroids make a difference? Different people have different theories, I guess. But for me, what hurt the most was sacrificing absolutely everything I had to finally achieve my dream of becoming a world champion, and then falling short. And when it became clear that UFC wasn't going to consider me for a second title shot, my entire world collapsed. I felt like a part of me had just died. It was beyond devastating."
Gan McGee then left UFC and joined the Japan-based PRIDE MMA organization. But by his own admission, his heart was no longer in the fight game: "Culturally and personally, being in Japan was an amazing experience," McGee stated. "I mean, from the ceilings to the shower fixtures, everything is so small over there—I felt a little like Godzilla trampling the villagers. But professionally, I never really recovered from the Sylvia fight. Mentally, I lost that edge—that killer instinct. Call it the 'Eye of the Tiger' or whatever you want; I was just going through the motions, unfocused and uncaring. And after losing my second fight in the Orient, I swore to myself that I would never step foot in a steel cage again—not until I regain my warrior's mentality."
McGee now claims that he has regained his long lost passion and will be embarking upon a comeback that he hopes will culminate with the heavyweight world title. His first comeback fight will be on XFC's "Salute to Our Armed Forces V" fight card on September 13, 2008 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. "It took years of introspection and self-discovery, but I finally realized that God made me a giant and blessed me with this mind-blowing power for a reason: to be the most destructive heavyweight champion that's ever walked on planet Earth," McGee stated. "Writers write, teachers teach -- and giants destroy. For so many years I tried to run away from my destiny -- to be something I'm not -- but that part of my life has come to a screeching halt. My intensity level is off the charts right now; if I've gotta tear down buildings, smash open skulls or annihilate whole cities to get another title shot, then that's what I'll do. This time around, 'The Giant' will stand tall."
Mixed martial arts record Edit
|Professional record breakdown|
|23||13 wins||5 losses|
|2009-07-25||Loss||Anthony Ruiz||Pure Combat 9||KO (Punches)||Round 3, 1:14|
|2008-09-13||Win||Johnathan Ivey||XFC 5 – Return of the Giant||TKO (Punches)||Round 2, 0:59|
|2004-04-25||Loss||Semmy Schilt||PRIDE Total Elimination 2004||Submission (Armbar)||Round 1, 5:02|
|2004-02-01||Loss||Heath Herring||PRIDE 27 – Inferno||Decision (Split)||Round 3, 5:00|
|2003-09-26||Loss||Tim Sylvia||UFC 44 – Undisputed||KO (Punches)||Round 1, 1:54||For UFC Heavyweight title, Tim Sylvia later tested positive for steroids after the fight|
|2003-02-28||Win||Alexandre Dantas||UFC 41 – Onslaught||TKO (Strikes)||Round 1, 4:49|
|2002-09-27||Win||Pedro Rizzo||UFC 39 – The Warriors Return||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||Round 1, 5:00|
|2001-10-04||Win||Ron Faircloth||WEC 2 – Clash of the Titans||Submission (Strikes)||Round 1, 0:12|
|2001-06-30||Win||Seth Petruzelli||WEC 1 – Princes of Pain||Submission (Heel Hook)||Round 1, 1:25|
|2001-04-11||Win||Rocky Batastini||IFC WC 12 – Warriors Challenge 12||TKO (Cut)||Round 1, 3:12|
|2000-11-17||Loss||Josh Barnett||UFC 28 – High Stakes||TKO (Strikes)||Round 2, 4:34|
|2000-09-30||Win||Brad Gabriel||IFC – Battleground 2||TKO||Round 1|
|2000-05-03||Win||Paul Buentello||IFC WC 7 – Warriors Challenge 7||Submission (Strikes)||Round 1, 2:44|
|2000-05-03||Win||Tim Lajcik||IFC WC 7 – Warriors Challenge 7||Submission (Strikes)||Round 1, 4:38|
|2000-05-03||Win||Jason Jones||IFC WC 7 – Warriors Challenge 7||Submission (Strikes)||Round 1, 6:48|
|1999-12-11||Win||Aaron Brink||CFF – The Cobra Challenge 1999||Submission (Strikes)||Round 1, 3:09|
|1999-09-18||Win||Ricky Herro||IFC WC 5 – Warriors Challenge 5||N/A||N/A|
|1999-08-14||Win||Sam Adkins||BRI 4 – Bas Rutten Invitational 4||TKO||Round 1, 4:58|