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Andrews: Rory MacDonald’s biggest accomplishment was not inside the cage, but on Parliament Hill

A day after being shocked by Dilano Taylor in the 2022 PFL 8 semi-finals, Rory MacDonald has decided to hang up his gloves at the end of the PFL season.

MacDonald (23-10-1), 33, was born in British Columbia, Canada and entered professional MMA in 2005. He won his first ten fights before pushing interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit in his first loss at UFC 115 in 2010.

His wife Olivia initially broke the news, but MacDonald took to Instagram soon afterwards to confirm it.

MacDonald was often considered a protege to Georges St-Pierre early in his career because of his training at the Tristar Gym. He slowly moved up the welterweight ranks and when GSP retired in 2013, began to rise quickly. His best fight could be his loss to then champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 in 2015, a back and forth affair that is considered a classic.

Both fighters absorbed tremendous amounts of damage in the fight and MacDonald was probably never the same leaving it. After another loss to Stephen Thompson, MacDonald left for Bellator where he captured his first world welterweight title. A run for the middleweight was denied by Gegard Mousasi but after a Bellator 220 bout against Jon Fitch, MacDonald found religion and found it increasingly uncomfortable to compete in MMA.

The losses began to pile up, with MacDonald going 3-5-0 since the draw to Fitch.

However, the respect for MacDonald and his skills never waned as many fans and fighters admired his work in the cage. He should be a sure bet for the UFC Hall of Fame as an individual and is one of the greatest Canadian fighters of all time.

I personally remember him throwing Nate Diaz around at UFC 129, with the fans gleefully cheering each toss.

While many have been noting the many personal accomplishments of MacDonald, I firmly believe his greatest accomplishment was outside of the cage.

MacDonald was also one of the fighters that helped the Canadian government update the criminal code Section 83 (2) with Bill S-209. Appearing with then UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright in front of the Senate Constitutional Affairs Committee on Parliament Hill in 2012, the bill helped set the framework for MMA to operate legally in Canada.

Rory MacDonald
Rory MacDonald and Tom Wright at the Senate Committee in Parliament Hill in 2012. Courtesy CP.

Because of the work that Wright and the UFC, along with the critical support of fighters like MacDonald who actually went to Parliament Hill and participated in the Senate hearings helped legalize MMA in Canada so that all Canadian fighters could now compete in their own country. Think of all the UFC Canadian shows alone that have taken place since 2012. That’s a lot of revenue, and a lot of Canadian fighters benefiting from the work to get the bill through.

And in typical Rory fashion, not much of the tooting of the horn. Those who know, know.

Rory was a great guy, quiet and reflective. I remember he visited the Grant’s gym. Talking to him during a quiet moment, he seemed to be a guy who just wanted to compete. It wasn’t about the fame and the money for him.

Rory MacDonald was an ordinary guy, who went on to do many extraordinary things. Which includes making a life outside of MMA, with a family to provide for. No small feat. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the community’s reaction.

All the best in your future endeavours, Rory.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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