Rory MacDonald is heading into the playoffs with his head held high despite a controversial ending to his final regular-season bout.
The former Bellator welterweight champion dropped a stunning split decision to Gleison Tibau at PFL 2021 5 on June 17. Aside from that, his first regular season with the promotion met expectations — beginning with a dominant first-round rear-naked choke of Curtis Millender.
“I felt I won pretty clearly, so does everyone else — except the judges and maybe Gleison, but that’s about it,” MacDonald told MyMMANews regarding his last fight. “That was a big surprise, but I’m happy to be moving on and facing Ray [Cooper III] in the playoffs.”
MacDonald hoped to get the result overturned as soon as the fight concluded. After looking into the appeal process, the Canadian found there was ultimately nothing that could be done about it.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with the judges knowing what they were watching,” he said. “I think it had to do with gambling, maybe. Or some other issues. But yeah, judges should obviously be educated, know what they’re watching. Besides that, I think they should be held accountable for what they’re doing and maybe [have] a board or something that reviews decisions like that so that if people do a bad job, they lose their job, you know? So I think some accountability would be good.”
“The Red King” felt prepped for the PFL season as he came in off the heels of a run in Bellator’s welterweight Grand Prix. However, the differences were apparent, and the high pace provided by the PFL stands out most.
The start of the welterweight playoffs will begin with Rory MacDonald facing the last season’s winner in Hawaii’s Ray Cooper III on August 13. It was a matchup the Sanford MMA representative expected upon his PFL arrival and he can say the same for a possible finals clash with either Joao Zeferino or Magomed Magomedkerimov.
“Both are good,” MacDonald said. “[Magomedkerimov] and Zeferino are both great competition. I think that’s a great matchup and may the best man win — same for me and Ray. These are not easy fights by any means, I’m taking all of them seriously. Right now my focus is on Ray, and once I get through that, I’ll shift my focus.”
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.