Early last week, it was announced that Rory MacDonald left Bellator to join the Professional Fighters League. Set to debut next season, MacDonald is to be a feature of the league’s welterweight division. Looking to win a title and the $1 million prize. “The Red King” will provide the PFL with a lot of positive publicity.
A true question that will be answered right away is whether MacDonald (21-6-1) is right for the tournament format of the PFL.
“The Red King” is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Douglas Lima at Bellator 232 during the finals of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix. He ended up 3-2-1 with the promotion, winning the Welterweight Title once. MacDonald ended his UFC run at 9-4. While his toughness is never questioned, it is his durability that can be put into question.
Fighting three times in 2019 as a result of the Grand Prix, MacDonald had a tough go-around. Following a draw with Jon Fitch, MacDonald questioned his fight future. He stated he didn’t have the drive to hurt anyone anymore.
Following that speech, he ended up beating Neiman Gracie in the semifinals before losing to Lima in the finals. With the PFL, Rory has a chance to fight four-five times, with two of those fights on the same night in October. Can he physically and mentally handle that amount of time in the cage?
While the schedule wouldn’t be ideal for someone in his position, MacDonald actually welcomes it.
“It’s perfect for fighters,” MacDonald stated to MMA Fighting. “We need to have options to see what fits our goals and have different offers out there to see what fits for us. PFL fit really perfectly for me. I’m really excited about the offer and the opportunities I have with them. I’m excited about their schedule, as far as their season format. It’s performance based. There’s no reason to have to trash talk. With the current format, fans get to appreciate fighters for who they are and what martial arts is all about.”
The lack of drama was one of the prime reasons MacDonald joined the PFL. In today’s age where rivalries and fights are based on trash-talking, the PFL offers an alternative where everything is settled in the octagon. After all, the idea of fighting for $1 million is motivation enough.
As we get closer to the third season, MacDonald will have a lot to prove, whether that be to the PFL, fans or himself. Going through a number of transformations both spiritually and mentally, the PFL will be a true test of MacDonald’s mettle.