Multiple outlets, including MMAJunkie and Fansided, are reporting the news that free agent fighter Rory MacDonald is close to signing with Bellator.
The landing spot for one of the biggest free agents in the sports’ history was fodder for much speculation. The Canadian scraper, and former title contender, made it clear before his last bout against Stephen Thompson, that he was willing to test the free agent waters.
Bellator seemed like a possible suitor since they have proven to be a major competitor for UFC talent. Most notably after their signing of the promotions former lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
The flames of intrigue were fanned even more when Bellator President Scott Coker told MMAFighting that “Rory’s somebody we’d definitely be interested in when he’s free.”
Then on a May episode of The MMA Hour, MacDonald did not seem bullish on his chances of returning to the UFC. In July, Coker made these comments to MMAJunkie journalist Chamatkar Sandhu:
Bellator President Scott Coker told me they have begun a line of communication with Rory MacDonald in the hopes of signing the free agent.
After recent events and quotes, today’s news seemed inevitable.
MacDonald is on a two fight losing streak. However, those loses were in highly competitive bouts against former champion Robbie Lawler, and new number once contender Thompson. At just 27-years-old, MacDonald has prime years ahead of him and would bring name value to his possible new employer.
MacDonald could easily become one of the faces of the company over the next five years. He isn’t likely to get a title shot straight away like Henderson did, but an eventual bout with current Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is one that has fight of the year potential.
Today could mark another major milestone in MMA free agency, and in Bellator’s continued development towards being a legitimate competitor to the UFC.