Bellators welterviktsmästare Rory MacDonald gick senast match mot Jon Fitch förra helgen under Bellator 220, där han behöll bältet efter att mötet slutade oavgjort.
Nu är den kanadensiske mästaren redan bokad för ett nytt möte, mot Neiman Gracie under Bellator 222 i Madison Square Garden den 14 juni.
MacDonald hade följande att säga i samband med nyheten, där reder ut ryktena om att han skulle vara på väg mot pension:
I want to take the time to thank everybody who had the chance to see my fight last weekend and share that candid moment I had in the Bellator cage with John McCarthy.
I felt an internal struggle during the fight I never experienced before. I have always enjoyed my time in the cage by expressing my techniques in full out combat against another top-level fighter, but this time I wasn’t enjoying it. It felt more like a job than the satisfaction I am used to feeling by being dominant and applying what I have practiced to defeat someone.
Even during my dominant moments, I felt I was completing a task and these feelings were a bit confusing to me because it’s new. I used to fight with anger I held within myself from pain I had experienced in my past. To be honest, I believe this comes from my heart changing as I’m walking a new life as a Christian. The Lord has given me peace and freedom from the pain that haunted me in my heart from my younger years. I would only satisfy myself for a short period of time from winning fights until the feeling would resonate in me again. So, now I don’t feel the same emotions I have in the past while competing.
I still and will always have a passion for martial arts and do not believe, as a Christian, that it’s wrong for myself to compete in a professional sport that is violent. In fact, I’m happy to testify about being a Christian on this platform I’ve been given.
To be clear, I am not retiring from my professional MMA career, I’ve always been true and honest in the sport and I spoke from the heart.
As for my career at the moment. I am going to move forward in this tournament and compete boldly against Neiman Gracie in New York at MSG on June 14.
Thank you for your support and all the kind messages I’ve received after this sentimental moment I had for all to see after 14 years of being in this sport.
29-årige MacDonald hade 2 vinster och 3 förluster innan mötet med Fitch. Han har nu ett record på 20-5-1.
Amerikanske Gracie är obesegrad med 9 raka vinster och mötte senast Ed Ruth under Bellator 213, där han segrade via submission i första ronden.
Resten av det nuvarande kortet för Bellator 222 ser ut som föjande:
- Lätt tungvikt: Lyoto Machida vs Chael Sonnen
- Weltervikt: Rory MacDonald vs Neiman Gracie
- Bantamvikt: Darrion Caldwell vs Kyoji Horiguchi
- Catchweight: Dillon Danis vs Max Humphrey
- Flugvikt: Heather Hardy vs TBA
- Flugvikt: Brandon Polcare vs Brandon Medina