Despite a truly honest assessment of his recent title defense over the weekend and how he has been feeling mentally when it comes to the fight game, Rory MacDonald is not retiring.
After competing to a majority draw in Saturday’s Bellator 220 headliner with Jon Fitch, the Bellator welterweight champion stated that “I don’t know if I have that same drive to hurt people anymore.” That statement opened a lot of eyes in the MMA community which lead to speculation that the 29-year-old was contemplating closing the book on his career in the cage.
On Tuesday, a statement released by the organization cited MacDonald saying “I am going to move forward in this tournament and compete boldly against Neiman Gracie.” Currently, that bout is scheduled for June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
MacDonald also wanted to clarify this past weekend’s post-fight comments and released a lengthy statement on social media Tuesday afternoon:
“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,” MacDonald stated.
“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.”
The California State Athletic Commission has medically suspended Rory MacDonald for 60 days for a cut on the right side of his face. There is no word at this time on whether or not that suspension will be lifted in time for Bellator 222 in June. As of now, the plan is for Rory MacDonald to meet Neiman Gracie in New York.
Stay connected with MyMMANews.com for more on this story as it plays out.