Firas Zahabi Reacts To Rory MacDonald’s Potential Retirement

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
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Bellator MMA welterweight champion Rory MacDonald is moving on to the semifinals of the welterweight grand prix.

However, how he advanced wasn’t the most convincing of performances. MacDonald fought Jon Fitch to a controversial majority draw in the main event of last weekend’s (Sat., April 27, 2019) Bellator 220 from the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

After the fight, MacDonald candidly admitted he wasn’t sure he could continue harming fellow human beings inside the cage. It was a poignant, sobering moment of honesty from one of the sport’s top fighters for many years. MacDonald confirmed he would fight title contender Neiman Gracie next, but his fighting future was still up in the air.

Today (Mon., April 29, 2019), MacDonald’s longtime TriStar MMA coach Firas Zahabi appeared on ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show’ to discuss his star pupil’s current mindset. MacDonald has been training since the young age of 14, and Zahabi said he has seen the dark side of fighting (via Chamatkar Sandhu):

“He’s a family man now, he’s maturing. He’s seen the dark side of fighting. The good side and the bad side.”

Full Of Emotion

But Zahabi pointed out that fighters are often emotional after a tough fight. He believes MacDonald will continue fighting:

“Right after a fight, you’re so full of emotions. The pendulum might swing the other way. He might want to fight and continue and that’s what I think will happen.”

Far From Done?

Overall, Zahabi believes MacDonald is far from done fighting and his journey in the sport isn’t close to over as a result (via Greg Rosenstein):

“I really feel like he has a lot of fight left in him…he’s a natural born fighter. I think he’s going to continue on his journey. “

MacDonald has a belt to defend and a grand prix to advance in. Those are hardly things a fighter whose mind is not fully committed to the fight game should be participating in. But MacDonald will regroup and discuss things with his coaches and team before making a decision.

If it were up to Zahabi, he would say take the fight. He believes MacDonald beats Gracie. The ensuing payday would then be too much to pass up:

“I would say take the fight, but ultimately it’s the fighter’s decision. I think he beats Neiman. I think he moves on to the main event. It’s a $1 million fight. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

It’s hard to imagine such a talented fighter leaving the sport behind at such a young age, but ‘The Red King’ has been burning the candle for almost 15 years.

Should he fight on? Only he can decide.