Home MMA Rory MacDonald Claims Bellator May Use Him As Alternate In Heavyweight Tourney

Rory MacDonald Claims Bellator May Use Him As Alternate In Heavyweight Tourney

Rory MacDonald’s love for the early days of MMA, when the sport was just as likely to be called NHB(No-Holds-Barred), is well documented. In the past, the Canadian welterweight has spoken of his desire to see the ban on headbutts lifted and time-limits removed. He isn’t too fond of these newfangled weight-classes either.

Just last year, MacDonald tweeted the following open challenge. The latter tweet references the fact that Denver, Colorado was the site of the earliest UFC’s, which had very few rules, no time-limits and no weight-classes.

Thus, when MacDonald suggested recently that he be used as an alternate for the upcoming Bellator heavyweight tournament, one knew that it was more than mere self-promotional bluster or posturing.

On Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, MacDonald revealed that he didn’t just release some words into the Twittersphere and hope for the best. He claimed that he actually spoke to Scott Coker about the possibility of stepping into the tournament in the event that someone withdraws and that the Bellator MMA president didn’t completely shoot down the suggestion.

MacDonald will have to get through a scheduled Bellator welterweight title fight with champ Douglas Lima before a more serious conversation will be had though.

“I spoke with Scott Coker about it and he said they would maybe use me as an alternate if someone gets injured, and also seeing on how my fight goes with Lima, obviously. I like my chances if someone gets injured or pulls out for whatever reason,” said MacDonald, who also claimed that he would have put his name forward for the tournament earlier if he was given advance notice that it was coming together.

“I’ve always wanted to do a tournament, and I think it would be interesting doing it, you know, kind of like old school.

“I know I’m going to be way undersized going in against these guys in this tournament, so it would kind of brings back that old school UFC vibe. That’s always something that I felt would be interesting(via MMAFighting).”

While there are several fighters already in the tournament that aren’t legitimate heavyweights, like light-heavyweights Ryan Bader, Chael Sonnen and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, there are also some very big men involved. Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione have frequently flirted with MMA’s heavyweight limit throughout their careers, with Nelson coming in as high as 264.2lbs, while former UFC heavyweight champ ,Frank Mir has actually weighed in a pound over the championship limit of 265lbs in the past.

MacDonald is undeterred by that fact though.

“I think it would be interesting,” said the fighter. “I think the fans would find it interesting just to see the new school MMA with a touch of the old school – the no weight limit kind of thing, even though I would have to make the weight.”

“I find that even with light-heavyweights, when you’re that size and you’re that athletic, it doesn’t really matter,” MacDonald added after suggesting that reigning Bellator light-heavyweight champ Bader should be one of the favourites for the tournament. “I know it’s a different sport, but we see in boxing, a lot of the dominant champs were actually undersized guys with more speed but equal power.”

Bader poses at a weigh-in during his stint in the UFC.

When betting opened for the tournament, the price offered by many bookies for a random alternate to emerge victorious was actually shorter than the odds for several of the fighters already announced. This is understandable, as with lengthy tournament formats, the likelihood of injury-necessitated and other types of withdrawals are very high indeed. MacDonald then, might well get his chance to jump into the fray.

Unless of course, Coker was merely humouring the 28-year-old.

MacDonald, however, doesn’t believe that the Bellator exec was disingenuously pandering or trying to placate him temporarily.

“He seemed cool with it,” said MacDonald. “He seemed surprised, but happily surprised. I don’t know, I think he’s a pretty straight shooter, so when he tells me something I have no reason not to believe him.”

Rory MacDonald faces Lima for the welterweight strap on January 20th. After that, who knows, he might invade the land of the giants.

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