After Questioning Career, Rory MacDonald Expects to Face Neiman Gracie at Bellator NYC

By Tristen Critchfield Apr 28, 2019

Shortly after Rory MacDonald learned he had advanced in Bellator’s welterweight grand prix by virtue of a majority decision against Jon Fitch, he sounded like a man that was ready to step away from the sport.

“It’s hard to pull the trigger,” he said during a post-fight interview in the cage following the Bellator 220 main event. “I don’t have that killer instinct. It’s hard to explain. It takes a certain spirit to come in here and put a man through pain, and I don’t know if I have that same drive to hurt people anymore.”

While MacDonald had his moments against Fitch, particularly on the feet, he spent large portions of the fight succumbing to his opponent’s grinding approach. Lacking a decisive performance, it appeared that the reigning champion didn’t want to move forward in the bracket, where he would face Neiman Gracie at Madison Square Garden on June 14.

“I was expressing what I felt in my heart what I was going through, trying to be honest,” MacDonald said when asked about his post-fight comments at Saturday’s press conference.

After having a little more time to collect himself after the bout, MacDonald said he expects to face Gracie in the grand prix semifinals. However, nothing is certain, especially after a physical, 25-minute fight.

“I can’t really give a definitive answer. I’m going to sit back, pray and see what God has in store for me,” he said. “My plans are right now are to go to the next stage and compete against Neiman.

“I have a little cut. It should heal up. The stitches should be out in a week. A week after that, I should be back to normal. I have a swollen elbow, but that should go down pretty fast.”

As far as the fight itself, MacDonald felt he did enough to win. In terms of significant strikes, “The Red King” certainly had the edge, but Fitch controlled much of the bout from top position.

“I thought I was up three rounds to two,” MacDonald said. “When it’s a judge’s decision, you never know. You can win five rounds and still lose a judge’s decision.”

Regardless of what the future holds, MacDonald is evolving as a person, and his faith has played a major role in his evolution. That means he sees himself as far more than a fighter.

“I think God has another chapter in my life,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m just going to be a fighter. As I move forward and closer to God, I think he’s got something for me and I can feel it in my heart. As I keep making steps walking closer to God, I feel it more and more. I feel another door opening. What it is I don’t know.”

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