Add Michael McDonald to the list of prominent free agents to join the Bellator MMA roster.
Sherdog.com confirmed with a Bellator official on Friday that McDonald has signed an exclusive, multi-fight contract with the California-based promotion. A date for his debut has not yet been determined. ESPN.com was first to report the acquisition.
McDonald was granted his release from the UFC despite still having fights remaining on his contract. The former interim bantamweight title challenger accused the Las Vegas-based promotion of “dishonest” business practices, according to an ESPN report.
"The UFC was dishonest in the way they tried to do business with me and it's resulted in a complete waste of my time," McDonald told ESPN. "I want to feel like my employer isn't out trying to cut my head off. I'm looking to enter a mutually respectful business contract with another fight organization.”
That organization will be Bellator MMA, which has also recently inked former UFC talents Ryan Bader and Lorenz Larkin to multi-fight deals. McDonald, 26, returned to active competition in 2016 after more than a two-year hiatus. “Mayday” went 1-1 last year, submitting Masanori Kanehara at UFC 195 before suffering a knockout loss to John Lineker at UFC Fight Night 91 on July 13.
The Modesto, Calif., native established himself as one of the sport’s top prospects during an eight-fight winning streak that culminated in him challenging Renan Barao for the UFC’s interim bantamweight title at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in February 2013. McDonald has fought just four times since falling to Barao via fourth-round submission.