REPORTS: RORY MACDONALD TO BELLATOR
Rory MacDonald appears to have fought his last fight for UFC.
FloCombat has reported that MacDonald has signed a contract with Bellator after testing the free agent market. Indications of the signing started early Wednesday when MacDonald was removed from the UFC Welterweight Rankings. He was ranked #3 behind Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson.
There has been no official announcement from MacDonald, UFC, or Bellator at this time and Bellator did not respond to requests for comment from MMATorch.
MacDonald last fought in June, losing a five-round decision to Thompson in UFC’s debut in Ottawa, Ontario and had made his intentions of testing free agency known publicly in the months leading up to the fight. MacDonald also main evented UFC’s debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2014.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: MacDonald is a very strong free agent signing for Bellator, and their highest profile signing outside of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and possibly Benson Henderson. What makes the MacDonald signing potentially bigger than both is that MacDonald can be used for Bellator to gain a stronger foothold in Canada. Bellator has run shows in Canada in the past during the Bjorn Rebney era, but none since Scott Coker took over two years ago. He’s nowhere near the name GSP is in Canada and I’m not sure he can be a draw without the UFC machine behind him. That said, Bellator could use him to break into some of the mid-sized Canadian markets that UFC is only going to visit once every few years at best (i.e. Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Halifax).
As far as in the cage goes, MacDonald has lost his last two fights, but against the top two contenders in the division. He has had the problem with frequent nose breaks, so it will be interesting to see if that hinders his performance in Bellator. If he’s able to get past that problem, he should be able to beat anyone in the division. A matchup with Michael “Venom” Page would be a great first fight to make if they want to throw MacDonald to the wolves immediately.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones may only be suspended for one-year due to the fact that the anti-estrogen drugs they failed for are considered “specified substances” under the USADA policy, which can be taken inadvertently and thus are subject to lesser suspensions than typical PEDs.
-UFC Welterweight George Sullivan has been informed of a potential anti-doping violation by USADA and will not be fighting on Saturday’s UFC on Fox show from Chicago. According to a statement by UFC, Sullivan voluntarily disclosed information leading to the provisional suspension. Sullivan was to fight Hector Urbina.
-UFC 202 was the third most purchased UFC pay-per-view of all time according to Brett Okamoto of EPSN. This would place the show behind UFC 196 and UFC 100 and would mean somewhere in the range of 1.2 to 1.5 million buys.
-World Series of Fighting has signed former UFC heavyweight Jared Rosholt.
-UFC Fight Pass has reached a deal with Alaska Fighting Championships to broadcast live events and carry archival material.
-Li Jingliang has been suspended by the NAC for a positive test for clenbuterol but USADA has chosen not to suspend Jingliang but has initiated an investigation into the failure. Ning Guangyou was found to have tested positive for the same substance earlier this year after eating contaminated meat.
-The third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America debuts tonight on Fight Pass. Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin will be the coaches.
-England’s Ian Entwistle will meet Rob Font in a bantamweight bout at UFC 204 in Manchester, England.
-Welterweights Leon Edwards and Albert Tumenov will fight also at UFC 204.
(MMATorch is introducing a Daily News Digest where with one click each day you can get the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Michael Hiscoe is a new MMATorch live events reporter and editorial columnist. He has written reviews for movie websites such as DVDTown.com and MovieMet.com in the past. He has been an avid follower of MMA for over 10 years and now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)