Last weekend, former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald made his anticipated debut in the Bellator cage. This debut couldn’t have gone better, as he dominated his dangerous foe Paul Daley to a second-round choke for the win.
In advance of this fight, MacDonald made the surprising admission that in terms of sponsorship money, he would actually be making less as a Bellator fighter than he would have if he had continued fighting in the UFC, wear fighters are required to wear Reebok exclusively.
“I could have easily went out and got plastered sponsors all over my shorts and banner and stuff and got little sponsors for the fight,” MacDonald said on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “But basically what I’m going out there is for long-term, marquee sponsorships that are going to be solid name brands that are going represent me and I represent them well and be a long-term partnership.”
While MacDonald apparently made less than he typically did through sponsorship, however, he apparently counterbalanced this deficit with a massive pay boost.
Kajan Johnson on #themmahour just said that Rory MacDonald, his Tristar teammate, is making $400,000 per fight in Bellator.
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) May 22, 2017
For context: MacDonald was paid $59,000 to show for his last fight in the Octagon, which he lost to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. In his next most recent fight, an unforgettable brawl with Robbie Lawler, he received the same to show (plus a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus). His third most recent UFC bout, a TKO win over Tarec Saffiedine, saw him make $56,000 to show, and $56,000 more for his win. (Figures via TheSportsDaily.com).
Needless to say, this Bellator payday represents a massive spike in income for Rory MacDonald.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/22/2017.