Bellator MMA has picked up some big names from the UFC, including Wanderlei Silva, Matt Mitrione, Quinton Jackson, Phil Davis, Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Benson Henderson, and more recently, Rory MacDonald.
When MacDonald was younger, his sole goal was to fight the best in the world, and win. Then he had the fight of the year with Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 on July 11, 2015. Fights like that can and often have had a permanent effect on a fighter’s health and well being, and not in a good way.
MacDonald’s contracted pay for the fight was $59,000. He won an additional $50,000 performance bonus, and undoubtedly received a substantial, discretionary “locker room” bonus. Still, it gave the tough Canadian, who turned pro at 16, real pause for thought.
He declined to renew his UFC contract prior to its expiration, instead running it out, and testing free agency. MacDonald went out on a loss to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, which presumably did not help his worth, but he received a sizable contract offer from Bellator, and the UFC declined to match it, as is their contractual right.
MacDonald took part in a press conference on Friday, and took some jabs at his former employer, most pointedly at the Reebok Deal.
“The production of the show, it just stands out right away,” said MacDonald of Bellator, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “The big screens, the entrances. They do it bigger. They do it right here. It’s a fight show here. They want to promote a fighter, they want to build it. It’s not generic where everyone is wearing the same thing. We get to be our own individual self, promote ourselves. Where I was before, everyone is wearing the same uniforms now, we’re all walking out of the same, boring dressing room or the gate. It’s boring. People are tired of that.”
“It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve had a lot to consider probably over a year. We’ve been in talks with Bellator for a long time now. It’s gone back and forth with the UFC. We’ve put a great deal together. We’re gonna build a great business together. Bellator believes in me; I believe in the company. We’re gonna take it to the next level. We’re gonna take over.”
“We’re gonna take Bellator into Canada and we’re gonna do it big. We’re gonna reinvigorate that market. Those fans are gonna get a proper fight show again.”
“The tide is turning. For me, that title fight against Robbie was an eye-opener. It was like, OK we got to the show where you wanted to go, it didn’t work out, but now it’s time to start making some money.”
“You walk into that cage like every single other person out there on the roster. You’re basically like a robot walking into the cage with the same jersey on, there’s no difference between this guy and that guy. It’s boring, I find it. It’s very plain. I understand where they’re trying to go with it, but that’s just not fight sport. There’s no personality there.”