After causing a stir this past weekend, by questioning whether he still has the desire to punish fighters in the cage, Rory MacDonald’s confirmed he’s not retiring.
MacDonald reported he wasn’t sure if he has the same “drive to hurt people anymore”, following his majority draw with Jon Fitch at Bellator 220. But, in a press release from Bellator confirming that MacDonald will battle Neiman Gracie, June 14th, the welterweight champ said this:
“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 in New York at MSG 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.”
There you have it. MacDonald and Gracie will battle in a semifinal bout of Bellator’s welterweight grand prix. The tourney winner will take home an additional $1 million dollars.
The bout will be part of Bellator 222, which will go down at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Here is the line-up so far for the event.
Updated Bellator 222: Machida vs. Sonnen Fight Card:
Light Heavyweight Main Event Bout: Lyoto Machida (25-8) vs. Chael Sonnen (31-16-1)
Welterweight World Grand Prix Semifinal Title Bout: Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) vs. Neiman Gracie (9-0)
Bantamweight World Title Bout: Darrion Caldwell (13-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2)
175-Pound Catchweight Bout: Dillon Danis (1-0) vs. Max Humphrey (3-2)
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Heather Hardy (2-1) vs. TBD
Flyweight Bout: Brandon Polcare (1-2) vs. Brandon Medina (Pro Debut)