MONTREAL – Saturday could have been Rory MacDonald’s coming-out party. Instead, he’ll be watching UFC 158 from the seats.
MacDonald (14-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was supposed to fight Carlos Condit (28-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a rematch at UFC 158, which takes place at Bell Centre in Montreal, MacDonald’s home training ground.
But a neck injury took him out of the fight – and now he will be sidelined longer than hoped after aggravating the injury by returning to training too quickly. Canada’s Sportsnet first reported the development, and Tristar Gym head Firas Zahabi on Wednesday confirmed MacDonald’s reinjury to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Zahabi, who is the head coach and trainer for MacDonald, as well as UFC 158 welterweight champion headliner Georges St-Pierre, told MMAjunkie.com that MacDonald’s aggravated injury was a result of the fighter trying to return too soon.
“I don’t want to make any commitments to (how long he’ll be out) because I don’t want to rush his injury,” Zahabi said. “That’s what happened the first time. He got injured during the Condit camp, and they told us it would take two weeks. We took a week off, and he got reinjured. We should’ve done the full two weeks. We should’ve been more mature about it. We tried to rush the process, and that’s what happened.
“The second time around, I don’t want to make the same mistake. I don’t want to rush the process in any way.”
MacDonald called out Condit following his win over B.J. Penn in December at UFC on FOX 5, looking for a rematch to avenge the lone loss of his career.
MacDonald was on his way to a win over Condit in just his second UFC fight, which took place at UFC 115 nearly three years ago. But late in the third round, he was stopped by strikes with just seven seconds left in the fight.
Since that loss, the highly touted Canadian, who turns 24 in July, has wins over Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle, Che Mills and Penn. A win over Condit would have given him five straight and would have been the biggest of his career, likely putting him squarely in the title hunt at 170 pounds – where his teammate and friend St-Pierre has a long run as champion.
Zahabi said MacDonald’s youthful enthusiasm toward training perhaps needs to be curtailed a little to avoid incidents like this one.
“He’s bummed out, but I told him, ‘Quit worrying. It’s going to happen. You’ve just got to train more intelligently,’” Zahabi said. “We always go into practice saying, ‘OK, we’re only going to do this amount,’ and we always wind up doing more because he just wants to do more. But when your body cools down, you realize you did too much. I’ve got to try to teach him that and make him realize what’s going on.
“It’s a vicious cycle that keeps happening. Once he realizes what’s happening all the time, that’s it’s costing him more time, it’s not saving him any time.”
UFC 158, featuring a main event between St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, has a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
For more on UFC 158, as well as the rest of the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.