24 March 2017 | 10:00 pm
With his days in the UFC behind him, former interim bantamweight title challenger Michael McDonald wasted little time announcing his next move.
McDonald (17-4) agreed to a multifight deal with Bellator MMA on Friday in yet another acquisition of a former UFC fighter in the past week, joining welterweight Lorenz Larkin and light heavyweight Ryan Bader. ESPN.com was the first to report the deal, just one week after McDonald, 26, parted ways with his former employer.
After missing two full years because of hand and wrist surgeries, McDonald returned to the UFC last January, defeating Masenori Kanehara by submission before being knocked out by John Lineker in July. Despite the fact that McDonald still had fights left on his contract, both the fighter and the UFC agreed on a termination of the deal.
In January, McDonald revealed in an interview with ESPN that he literally couldn’t afford to take on another fight and wasn’t willing to once again take on personal debt in order to pay for a decent training camp upfront. Interviewed again this week, McDonald went deeper regarding the breakdown of his relationship with the UFC.
“I didn’t feel I could trust that ‘yes’ meant ‘yes’ and ‘no’ meant ‘no,’” McDonald told ESPN regarding his discussions with the UFC. “I didn’t feel I could trust their motives.”
McDonald made his UFC debut in 2011 at the age of 20. Two years later, he was submitted by Renan Barao in an interim title bout at 135 pounds. McDonald finished his UFC run just 2-3 since 2012.
The native of Modesto, California, joins a Bellator bantamweight division topped by champion Eduardo Dantas.