Rory MacDonald is nearing the end of his Bellator contract, but the welterweight champion isn’t going anywhere.
MacDonald, who defends his title against Jon Fitch on Saturday at Bellator 220 on DAZN in the first round of the 170-pound grand prix, said he plans on re-signing with the Viacom-backed promotion once his current deal is up. The Canadian said he has three fights left, which would take him to the end of the tournament if he makes it to the finals.
“To be honest, I’m very happy with Bellator,” MacDonald told the Pull No Punches podcast. “I love what we’ve built so far in a short amount of time. I don’t see any reason to test free agency. I could, but I don’t think I will. It’s not on my mind right now.”
MacDonald’s stance has seemingly changed since earlier on in his Bellator run. In late 2017, the former UFC title challenger said he was disappointed by his activity rate in the cage. At the time, he had fought only once in Bellator, a win over Paul Daley that May. MacDonald signed with Bellator in August 2016 and had to wait nine months to make his debut.
“It’s been a slow process with Bellator,” MacDonald said at the time. “I think their organization is — they’re a little bit scattered.
“I’m not the type of fighter that needs to be sidelined and fight once a year. I need to be kept busy.”
Since the Daley fight, MacDonald won the Bellator title with a competitive win over Douglas Lima in January 2018 at Bellator 192. In his last bout, however, the TriStar product fell to middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi by one-sided TKO. MacDonald tried to become the first fighter in Bellator history to hold two titles simultaneously, but ultimately fell short.
MacDonald’s belt will be on the line throughout the Bellator welterweight grand prix, which kicked off late last year. The winner of the MacDonald vs. Fitch fight, which headlines Bellator 220 at SAP Center in San Jose, will meet Neiman Gracie later this year.
Also advanced to the second round are former champ Lima and rising star Michael Page, who face off in the semifinals next month at Bellator 221.
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