Bellator President Scott Coker admires the mentality of Rory MacDonald, but he prefers that the former UFC star limit his ambitions to more appropriate weight classes for now.
During a recent appearance on ”The MMA Hour,” MacDonald expressed interest in a spot as an alternate in Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix. While the bracket does feature several light heavyweights, the Tristar Gym representative normally competes at 170 pounds. He will challenge for welterweight gold in the Bellator 192 headliner against Douglas Lima on Jan. 20.
“I spoke to Scott Coker about it and he said that maybe they would use me as an alternate if someone gets injured, and also depending on how my fight goes with Lima, obviously,” MacDonald told Ariel Helwani in November. “I like my chances if someone gets injured or pulls out for whatever reason.”
While MacDonald may indeed have had such an exchange with the Bellator boss, it doesn’t sound as though “The Red King” will end up on the list of alternates in the event of an injury.
“Rory has a big fight coming up that he’s focused on at 170 pounds. Let’s see how that works out,” Coker said during a recent media call. “As far as him fighting at heavyweight, the thing I love about Rory is he’s a real martial artist and the weight class issues doesn’t bother him. But I think that we’ll probably stick to heavyweights or fighters that can actually make it over 205 pounds.”
Coker added that alternates for the grand prix will be announced soon, perhaps at the Bellator 192 post-fight press conference. For his part, MacDonald claims his interest in the tournament was, and is, legitimate.
I would definitely take part in it if I had the opportunity,” MacDonald said. “I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t do it.”
While heavyweight might not be an option for MacDonald, he still has aspirations beyond 170 pounds. Even if he defeats Lima at Bellator 192, that doesn’t mean he’ll be staying put to defend his welterweight title.
“I think it’s all about timing, so I’m pretty much open to anything,” MacDonald said. “Whatever is the best thing at that particular time I’m pretty much ready to jump on it. If there’s not really a clear No. 1 contender for me to fight at welterweight if I beat Douglas, I’d be happy to fight for the middleweight title or fight someone with a bigger name that might be in a larger weight class. I’m really open to any option. I think it comes down to timing and availability.
“I think there’s plenty of good talent at welterweight,” he added. “I can stay very busy for a long time with the amount of fighters they have at welterweight. I want to achieve more than just one weight class. I want to broaden my horizons a little bit.”