This past weekend, Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald successfully retained his championship.
MacDonald went to a majority draw with Jon Fitch in the main event of Bellator 220. With the draw, he retains his title and will advance in the Welterweight Grand Prix Tournament. After the contest, when interviewed by John McCarthy, MacDonald said he’s not sure if he has it in him anymore to pull the trigger.
“The Red King” largely credited this to his newfound Christian faith. His comments sounded like those of a fighter who was about to retire. However, taking to Twitter today (Tues. April 30, 2019), MacDonald clarified that he’s not retiring from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition:
“I want to take the time to thank everybody who had the chance to see my fight last weekend and share that candid moment I had in the Bellator cage with John McCarthy.
“I felt an internal struggle during the fight I never experienced before. I have always enjoyed my time in the cage by expressing my techniques in full out combat against another top-level fighter, but this time I wasn’t enjoying it. It felt more like a job than the satisfaction I am used to feeling by being dominant and applying what I have practiced to defeat someone.”
“Even during my dominant moments, I felt I was completing a task and these feelings were a bit confusing to me because it’s new. I used to fight with anger I held within myself from pain I had experienced in my past. To be honest, I believe this comes from my heart changing as I’m walking a new life as a Christian. The Lord has given me peace and freedom from the pain that haunted me in my heart from my younger years. I would only satisfy myself for a short period of time from winning fights until the feeling would resonate in me again. So, now I don’t feel the same emotions I have in the past while competing.
“I still and will always have a passion for martial arts and do not believe, as a Christian, that it’s wrong for myself to compete in a professional sport that is violent. In fact, I’m happy to testify about being a Christian on this platform I’ve been given.
“To be clear, I am not retiring from my professional MMA career, I’ve always been true and honest in the sport and I spoke from the heart.
“As for my career at the moment. I am going to move forward in this tournament and compete boldly against Neiman Gracie at Bellator 222 from Madison Square Garden in New York on June 14.
“Thank you for your support and all the kind messages I’ve received after this sentimental moment I had for all to see after 14 years of being in this sport.”
MacDonald was on a two-fight win streak after joining Bellator in 2016. However, that win streak came to an end when he attempted to take middleweight gold from Gegard Mousasi in September. Mousasi finished MacDonald in the second round of their Bellator 206 main event.
In his first fight back since, MacDonald was unable to get back in the win column against Fitch, going to a majority draw. He’ll now face Neiman Gracie in the next round of the Welterweight Grand Prix Tournament. It will be interesting to see if he gets his first victory since January of 2018.