Rory MacDonald, recently signed with the PFL, is sidelined by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has left him time for multiple interviews recently.
Ahead of the new Red King Rundown documentary series on YouTube, MacDonald spoke with Damon Martin for MMA Fighting about his best and worst memories at age 30, after training in the sport for nearly 17 years, and began fighting when he was 16.
“I have a bunch of really special moments that I cherish,” said MacDonald. “Something that was really special to me was right before my UFC career, my coach and my manager, we were talking with [UFC matchmakers] Sean Shelby or Joe Silva and basically I had gotten bigger as a teenager and I was starting to move up to welterweight. I was a lightweight fighter. But they wanted me to get a couple wins at welterweight before bringing me in.
“So I had two fights basically on my contract with King of the Cage and I fought two welterweight fights. I remember that last fight and I won, I just had a ‘I did it’. I made it to the next level, what I’ve been dreaming about getting into the UFC. So that was a pretty special moment.”
“If I had to pick [my biggest regret], it would be my preparation leading up to the Mousasi fight. That was a huge opportunity and I didn’t take it serious enough. Obviously, I got absolutely crushed.
“I can’t cry over spilled milk now. It is what it is. I just have to learn from it and persevere to get where I want to go.”
“I’m excited for this new journey with PFL. Being a fighter in my 30s now, I feel like everything’s coming together in my life and in my own head, my approach to fighting. I think I’m going to have some really good years ahead of me. Make a name for myself, a legacy for myself in the sport.”
And during an interview with Danny Segura and Nolan King for MMA Junkie, "The Red King" talked about recent complaints by a number of top UFC fighters about the athlete-management revenue split in the league.
“It’s a tough spot,” said MacDonald. “You’re in a tough business of being a professional mixed martial artist. Most of the money is going to the promotion. We don’t have anything like the Ali Act that’s protecting us in getting, you know, fair distribution of the money that’s coming from these events. So in the current situation, the current market, you pretty much have to fend for yourself is what I see.”
“I felt like when I was in the UFC, I was focused on just being a champion, and when I get to that top spot I want to be a top competitor and the money is going to come. But it just seemed the increments of when I got to the next contract it wasn’t going anywhere substantial for me. So I had to make a tough decision, but I believe in myself that I would be successful out of the UFC and I’m not saying ill will towards the UFC. That’s just the way they conduct business and that’s fine.
“That’s the current market and we as fighters we have to deal with that. The way I dealt with it, is to do what was best for me. I had to move on elsewhere and look at the entire market to look at other promotions and see what was the best situation for me.”
“Every time there’s a contract negotiation it’s best not to burn bridges with different promotors. You want to keep a good relationship with everybody. Talking bad about a promotor is not going to do you any favors seven years down the road talking to different promotions and see who wants to bring you in again. So I always try to be respectful to the promotors and work together and make a deal that works for everyone.”