Rory MacDonald escaped an early scare in his quest to defend his welterweight title when he took on Jon Fitch in the opening round of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix.
“The Red King” and Fitch fought to a majority draw, so as the current champion, MacDonald advances to the semi-finals to take on Neiman Gracie on June 14 in New York City. In his post-fight interview with Bellator commentator John McCarthy, MacDonald said that he didn’t know if he has “that same drive to hurt people” indicating his long and decorated career -- he started fighting professionally at the age of 16 -- had finally caught up to him.
MacDonald’s next opponent, Gracie, doesn’t buy the talk and believes he showed enough against Fitch to suggest he still had the drive to hurt his opponent (via MMAJunkie):
“It’s up to him (whether he wants to fight). I think he still wants to hurt people. I saw him trying to hurt Fitch pretty bad tonight. I think it’s bulls---.”
Gracie claimed Fitch provided the blueprint on how to finish MacDonald in their fight and that he will be using that fight as a guide in beating the 170-pound champion when they meet.
“Fitch showed how to beat him, I think, and I’m different than Fitch is,” Gracie said. “If I take someone down I’m not going to stall in someone’s guard. I will go for the finish, and I will get a good position, and I will finish the fight on the floor. That’s the difference.”