Rory “Red King” MacDonald grew-up in hockey rich Canada. Starting at a young age on the ice, he grew tired of the sport and as a young teen transitioned to martial arts, his true first love.
A goal scorer, a center, in youth hockey, MacDonald joined Toshido MMA in Kelowna, British Colombia, for his first martial arts class.
Once he stepped onto the mat he was hooked.
Hockey’s loss is MMA’s gain.
MacDonald, 31, displays an outstanding resume. He is a former Bellator welterweight champion and a former King of the Cage lightweight champ. He is also a former top UFC contender with a 9-4 record.
He has defeated B.J. Penn, Tyron Woodley, Tarec Saffiedine, and Douglas Lima to name a few. Overall, he is 21-6-1 with his greatest fight, the one putting him on the proverbial MMA map, occurring in defeat.
At UFC 189 in July 2015, MacDonald challenged Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight title in a bout that is heralded as one of the greatest (if not greatest) MMA fights of all time.
Much has happened between then and now with MacDonald now facing new challenges and new endeavors.
MacDonald and his family (wife and two children) recently moved to South Florida, leaving the cold, snowy winter Canadian weather for the sun, sand and water in the southern portion of the Sunshine State.
He joined the Sanford MMA team, which also includes his respected adversary Lawler. Sanford MMA is in Deerfield Beach under the direction of Henri Hooft and Greg Jones. They and their team have built quite the facility and reputation as one of the top places to train in the world.
With Covid restricting plenty in Canada, MacDonald felt this was the time to make the move, get a different perspective in coaching and training in a safe, working environment with less restrictions than north of the border. Sanford MMA is abiding by CDC guidelines.
Like Austin Vanderford (Bellator) and wife Paige VanZant (UFC, BKFC), when the MacDonalds visited South Florida, the decision to move from frozen terrain occurred expeditiously, basically on the spot.
A new training facility, a new zip code, that’s not all that’s new with MacDonald. He is currently preparing to make his Professional Fighters League debut in April.
In my video interview with Rory MacDonald at Sanford MMA, he discusses PFL, Sanford MMA, Robbie Lawler, South Florida, Canada, hockey, Sakic, family and more.
MacDonald last fought in October 2019 in Bellator against Lima, who won by unanimous decision.
MacDonald beat Lima for the Bellator welterweight title in January 2018, before Lima won the belt in the rematch.
In December 2019, MacDonald signed with PFL, which features a regular season and playoff format, leading to the finals on New Year’s Eve in Madison Square Garden. Each victor that night wins the tournament championship belt and $1-million.
Preparing for this new challenge, MacDonald was then forced to hit the breaks. PFL canceled the 2020 season, because of the pandemic, citing health and safety first for its fighters and staff. So MacDonald devoted more time to family, especially with two little ones. The PFL schedule, when in season, also affords him that luxury.
Now PFL is once again in season, restarting April 23 on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in prime-time.
The season continues on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25. More dates TBA.
MacDonald will make his PFL debut on April 29 against 2019 PFL runner-up David Michaud in the main event.
PFL and Rory MacDonald socially acceptable
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