Rory MacDonald was one arguably the UFC’s hottest prospect, a young bulldozer who was thought to be the next welterweight ruler in the years following the legendary run of his good friend and TriStar Gym training partner Georges St-Pierre.
And “The Red King” nearly summited that peak, taking then-champ Robbie Lawler to the absolute brink in the third round of their instant classic co-main event at July 2015’s UFC 189. But true to his “Ruthless” namesake, the champion was able to weather a brutal storm and come back even stronger, destroying MacDonald’s nose on the way to one of the bloodiest stoppages – and greatest fights – we’ve ever seen in the octagon.
MacDonald took almost a year to heal from a badly broken nose, and returned to face then-surging number one contender Stephen Thompson last June. He appeared to be less aggressive than the stalking psychopath fans had grown accustomed to, and “Wonderboy” outclassed him on the feet over the course of five rounds in what was the last fight on MacDonald’s UFC contract.
Since then, the star has signed with Bellator MMA and largely spoken out against the business practices of the UFC, something that more and more fighters are doing on what seems like a daily basis right now. Each new day’s headlines bring a cry of discontent from one fighter or another (and many times more) in the year following the company’s record-setting $4.2 billion sale to talent agency WME-IMG, but MacDonald is in the position to be far more specific and candid as an employee of a rival promotion.
The Canadian brawler will make his Bellator debut against UFC vet and British knockout slugger Paul Daley in the main event of tonight’s (Fri., May 19, 2017) Bellator 179 from England, and during a media call to promote the event this week (via MMA Fighting), Macdonald touched on why his new bosses are doing it right. To him, he feels like an actual person rather than a sheep meant to do the UFC’s bidding:
“I think Bellator gets it, they want to build a character around each and every guy on the roster. They want to build up the names and let people see the real sides of them and they can build that up. The UFC kind of has lost that, everyone is wearing the same thing, everybody is trying to be Conor McGregor, and it’s lost it’s feel a little bit.
“[I’m] just more involved rather than just being another guy in the line, another number, another sheep,” MacDonald said. “So, I just feel more respected, more attention to detail when it comes to the promotion of myself.”
MacDonald may have a good point, as there’s little evidence to deny that many fighters in the UFC are trying to follow the wildly successful money-making gameplan of ‘The Notorious,’ with ridiculous match-ups being discussed and booked to mostly disastrous results in the eyes of the sport’s truest and most loyal fans.
MacDonald then opened up about the current state of MMA fighter morale, noting that things are bad and getting worse, so any competition that puts more money into the fighters’ pockets is a good thing:
“Everybody’s situation is getting worse there and increasingly people are getting more and more unhappy,” MacDonald said. “And seeing that there’s money to be made, just the way they’re treated in general. They’re not content with it, so, it’s got there’s a competitor in the marketplace and that’s just going to make everybody get better. More options for the fighters, everyone’s going to get more money and it’s going to be better for MMA the sport in general.”