Between Rory MacDonald’s majority draw against Jon Fitch in their Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix quarterfinal and his surprising post-fight statements, the reigning Bellator MMA 170-pound champ has had to do quite a bit of explaining in order to convince the world his heart is still in the sport.
While the razor-close draw was enough to allow “The Red King” to retain his title as well as to advance to the semifinals, where he will meet Neiman Gracie in June, he told commentator John McCarthy after the fight that he wasn’t sure if he still liked to “hurt people” anymore. Many observers took this as the 29-year-old’s way of indicating an early retirement, with several fellow fighters offering to take his place in the grand prix. Days after those comments, however, the Canadian confirmed his continued desire to compete and claimed to be looking forward to facing Gracie in the next round.
MacDonald was a recent guest on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” where he elaborated further on his post-fight comments, crediting a newfound relationship with Jesus for the change in his attitude towards fighting.
“I felt like I was unsure of the emotions I was feeling in the fight,” MacDonald said. “For the longest time, I fought with a certain anger inside of me, so it was kind of like a release. [It] felt good to fight, to do damage and it made me feel better about myself in some kind of a way.
“Lately, because of my new relationship with Jesus Christ, I just don’t feel that hurt in my heart or that pain that used to drive me,” he added. “I have new life and peace in my heart and I don’t really have that anger that used to drive me.
“So it’s kind of weird to go into a fight and not go through the same emotions that I’m used to feeling,” MacDonald continued. “So I guess I was just caught up [during the post-fight interview] thinking about why I’m feeling like this, what am I doing here? I was just not sure what to make of it.”