Some uncertainty concerning the Bellator 222 main event arose earlier this morning.
Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald is set to defend his title against Neiman Gracie in the main event of this weekend’s (Fri., June 14, 2019) card from New York City. The fight will also serve as a pivotal semifinal match-up in the ongoing Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix.
However, the fight may be affected by MacDonald’s comments that he was no longer motivated to hurt other human beings following his controversial majority draw with Jon Fitch at Bellator 220 on April 27. Due to those comments, sources informed MMA News that Fitch had been brought in as a backup fighter for the event. Fitch himself informed MMA News that was indeed the case via text message:
“They asked me to be ready in case Rory didn’t show. Just weigh-in and see what happens.”
‘Red King’ Responds
But “The Red King” isn’t sure why Fitch is being brought into the equation at all.
MMA News’ Fernando Quiles Jr. caught up with MacDonald himself at the Bellator 222 open workouts today in New York. The champ confirmed he was healthy and ready to defend his title. He wasn’t exactly sure why Fitch was even involved:
“I don’t know, Bellator never told me anything about it. But I’m healthy, my weight’s good, I’m cutting weight. Everything’s in order for me to fight. I don’t know [about Fitch’s comments].”
As for why he didn’t participate in the open workouts, something that raised a few eyebrows, MacDonald had a simple explanation:
“I just don’t like to work out fight week. I like the sauna and stuff, relax, recover my body from training camp.”
MacDonald Ready To Fight Better
Quiles Jr. then asked MacDonald if it was fair he would have to fight better than he did against Fitch in order to beat Gracie this weekend. He responded he would have to:
“Yeah, and I think I will perform better. I think I’ll bring my A game.”
MacDonald then touched on why that was the case, pointing to Gracie’s clear strengths on the ground before adding he had to be ready for everything:
“His submission game is his most dangerous. But you know, you can’t just forget about the rest of it. He trains striking and wrestling, so I’ll be ready for it.”
MacDonald was also asked about being promoted to the main event after Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen was the original main event. The stoic MacDonald was about as excited as you’ll see him get:
“Sure, yeah, it’s quite an honor to be a headliner in this place, so I’m excited.”
Ready For A New Chapter
Of course, questions about his motivation following his concerning post-fight speech at Bellator 220 are still circling. He addressed those questions by stating he is indeed motivated and coming off a great training camp. He claimed to feel good and ready to fight to the best of his considerable skills:
“Really good. I feel like it’s a new chapter. Motivation and everything is fine. So, yeah, training’s been great. Feeling good, looking to perform at my best.”
Finally, MacDonald offered his prediction for the high-profile bout, voicing his belief that he will win in emphatic fashion:
“Just I think I’ll win by a KO.”
You can watch MacDonald’s full interview with MMA News here: