Rory MacDonald had a lot to say after his controversial loss to Gleison Tibau in the 2021 regular-season finale.
Former Bellator champion and current PFL welterweight semifinalist Rory MacDonald is widely regarded as one of the nicest personalities in all of MMA, but he’s not happy with the way that his first PFL season ended in New Jersey earlier this year.
MacDonald opened up the 2021 season with a dominant submission win over Curtis Millender at PFL 2. After the season-opening win, MacDonald was tasked with a main event bout with Gleison Tibau at PFL 5, a fight in which he seemingly had the upper hand from start to finish. Despite his strong performance in the cage, the judges awarded Tibau with the split-decision win which sent the MMA community into a frenzy.
MacDonald doesn’t have any intentions to compete in New Jersey for the remainder of his career because of the controversial loss.
“I’ll never fight for the New Jersey Athletic Commission again,” MacDonald told FanSided’s Amy Kaplan in Florida during the PFL press junket. “It would just not be wise. I think that there needs to be some accountability for judges, they can get away with doing something like that and there’s no backlash.”
“Keep doing it for years to come to other fighters, and it affects their life, big time.”
The decision didn’t impact MacDonald’s playoff berth but did impact the seeding in the four-man playoffs set to take place next month. After originally being expected to be the top seed going into the playoffs, he fell to the second seed and will face the defending PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III in the semifinals.
Rory MacDonald is looking to earn another welterweight title in his first season with PFL
MacDonald is in his first season with PFL after successful tenures in the UFC and Bellator. He won the Bellator welterweight championship over Douglas Lima back at Bellator 192 but went on to lose the belt to Lima in the finals of the 2019 Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix at Bellator 232 in his final fight with the promotion.
After many around the sport questioned MacDonald’s fire to still compete against the elite in MMA, he signed with the PFL with the hopes to earn another belt. He’ll have that opportunity to prove the doubters wrong against Cooper in a highly-anticipated welterweight battle.