This past Saturday, MacDonald returned to action against the short-notice replacement Taylor for the headlining bout of the PFL 8 2022 Playoffs. From the get-go, MacDonald appeared a bit shy to get into striking exchanges as he looked to utilize his wrestling chops. For the very first time in his career, MacDonald suffered a first-round defeat when a huge right cross from Taylor dropped him. Taylor secured the win by finishing him with ground strikes.
Initially, MacDonald’s wife, Olivia, shared news of his decision to hang up the gloves, on Instagram stories, writing, “So many emotions tonight. I ask that you be kind with your words. It’s been a wonderful journey to watch this man fight. Rory has hung up the gloves and very much at peace with it. To new beginnings.”
Aaron Bronsteter of TSN shared screenshots of the message on Twitter.
MacDonald Released a Statement Confirming the Move
The former Bellator welterweight champion and UFC title challenger had a remarkable run at the highest level in the sport. He spearheaded the Canadian MMA movement like no other, except for arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Georges St-Pierre.
MacDonald confirmed his decision to walk away in a statement posted on his Instagram.
“My time has come to put the gloves down for good. im so thankful for this sport and every person ive been able to meet along the way. I started this sport as a 14 yr old kid, i still remember my first day and knowing this is what i wanna spend my life doing. the passion for martial arts and becoming a pro mma fighter gave me hope and a way to a better life! and im so thankful to god for putting that gym toshido mma in kelowna in my path. it truly changed the direction of my life and saved me!
“What an adventure this career has been, 17 years of professional fighting. it all came and went so fast! so many painful trainings that are etched into my being, travelling to all parts of the planet and meeting so many people.
“I’ve learned so much about myself through this career, not all of it good . and ive made so many mistakes along the way, but here i am 33 yrs old a better man becuase of those mistakes, to which im very grateful ive grown up lol.
“I wanna thank all of my fans that have been so supportive, i never got into the sport for fame or any acknowledgement and its been hard adjusting to attention like that but i am truly thankful for your kindess youve shown me!
“Thank you to all my friends and family that have went out of there way to help me live out my dream of fighting at the highest level of mma, thank you for believing in me, and caring so much, youve been so generous and i love you you all.
“Thank you to the ufc, bellator, pfl for the opportunity to fight on the world stage
and all the staff of those organizations, youve all be really cool ppl to hangout and work with, sorry you had to put up with me being cranky and needy most of the time we spent together.
“Thank you to my coaches and my training partners and managers!”
MacDonald Had Been Thinking About Retirement
Following a majority draw against Jon Fitch in the main event of Bellator 220, the “Red King” had shared that he might have lost the “killer instinct.” He felt like he struggled to pull the trigger as he pondered over the damage he inflicted on his opponent.
MacDonald retires after going one and four in his last five outings, with the sole win coming over Brett Cooper in May at PFL 3. During his run in the UFC, he racked up wins over former champions and notable opponents, including Nate Diaz, BJ Penn, Demian Maia, and Tyron Woodley.
The biggest highlight of his career would likely be his Fight of the Year loss to Robbie Lawler in a title fight at UFC 289 in July 2015. Both men went to war in what can be classified as one of the bloodiest and most violent battles of all time.