UPDATE: Speculation that Rory MacDonald was set to join Bellator has today been confirmed.
MMAFighting.com revealed the news that MacDonald is close to finalising a deal with Bellator, and that the UFC had confirmed that they will not be matching it.
Rory MacDonald is close to finalizing a new fight contract with Bellator, MMA Fighting has learned. MacDonald's management team was informed Tuesday night by the UFC that they were not able to match the terms of a contract offered by Bellator.
UFC has also confirmed to MMAFighting.com that they will not be matching MacDonald's contract offer from Bellator.
We reported earlier in the day on MacDonald's absence from the UFC rankings, with many believing that this was the final sign that Rory would not be renewing, and it turned out to be true.
Original article published on Aug 24, 2016 @ 16:33
Rory MacDonald is a real fan favourite in the UFC, but those who enjoy watching the Red King show absolute no emotion whatsoever while participating in absolute wars have been sweating for some time over his future.
The Canadian fighter has expressed his unhappiness publicly at the pay being offered to UFC fighters ever since the Reebok sponsorship kicked into effect, and with his contract running down after his loss to Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson, many feared he may jump ship and move to an organisation that would offer him top dollar.
A reddit user today pointed out that the latest update of the UFC rankings has taken MacDonald out of the welterweight division...
It looks almost certain that he has informed the UFC that he will not be negotiating a new contract, but there are a few more possibilities.
It could just be a formality while he does not have an active contract, and while he renegotiates he has been removed from the rankings. There does not appear to be a precedent for this however.
The more likely option is that Bellator have offered Rory MacDonald what he is looking for financially to dramatically boost interest in their 170 division. The current welterweight champ in Bellator is Andrey Koreshkov, who recently defeated former UFC fighter Benson Henderson, and you would have to think that Rory would be in line to compete for the title right away.
Also interesting here is the rumours that Donald Cerrone has been offered $350,000 per fight to join Bellator, and considering how regularly Cowboy fights, that is a lot of money.
Should MacDonald and Cowboy opt for Bellator's 170 division, then things would get very interesting indeed. It's clear that competition to the UFC is good for MMA fans, but the UFC really allow two extremely popular fighters walk at the same time?
Watch this space, we'll keep you updated on any further developments.