Rory MacDonald is close to finalizing a new fight contract with Bellator, MMA Fighting has learned. MacDonald’s management team was informed Tuesday night by the UFC that they were not able to match the terms of a contract offered by Bellator.
While MacDonald has yet to put pen to paper, that is a formality at this point, sources say. So much so that the UFC has already removed him from their official welterweight rankings.
MacDonald (18-4) made his UFC debut in Jan. 2010. He will leave the organization with an 9-4 record inside the Octagon, most recently dropping a unanimous decision to Stephen Thompson in June.
Nicknamed “Red King,” MacDonald is considered to be best active Canadian fighter. His 2015 UFC welterweight title fight against then-champion Robbie Lawler was a unanimous choice for Fight of the Year.
The 27-year-old’s Bellator debut has yet to be decided, but sources say he’s currently targeting a fight in the first quarter of 2017.
This is a huge signing for Bellator. This is the first elite fighter I can remember from the UFC that jumped ship in the prime of his/her career. If all goes well for the Canadian, he will get a title shot and run that division for years to come. I think fighters need to pay attention to their paycheck because we have seen so many careers end early due to injury. Competition among competing businesses usually drives up asking price in sports so people like MacDonald are helping future fighters earn more money. I like the move!!!