Jason MacDonald can identify with the professional athletes who reach the apex of their specific sports and are eventually demoted to the next level.
The Red Deer resident was dropped by the Ultimate Fighting Championship — the major league of martial arts — this week, the result of losing three of his previous four fights, including an April 18 bout with Nate Quarry at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
While disappointed, MacDonald, a six-foot-three fighter who competes in the middleweight 185-pound class, was far from bitter.
“It’s been a positive experience with the UFC,” MacDonald, who joined the organization in 2006, said Thursday. “It’s like any other professional sport — you’re paid to perform. Like in hockey or baseball, if you have some bad games they send you down to the minors.”
The 33-year-old leaves the UFC with a 5-5 record and has an overall martial arts mark of 21-12, including his pre-UFC fights with the Maximum Fighting Championship, an organization he might rejoin in September.
“I think I’m going to take a little break, take the summer off,” said MacDonald, who received a 100-day medical suspension after a previous wound — a nasty cut on his eyebrow — was re-opened in the loss to Quarry.
“I’m not eligible to fight until July, but I’m going to take the summer months off and get refreshed and re-energized and move forward in the fall. I was pretty busy with the UFC last year and never really had a chance to enjoy the summer.”
MacDonald is focused on earning another UFC contract via the MFC and/or Strikeforce.
“I think I can squeeze on at least two fights by the end of the year. That would be four fights for the year, which is fairly busy considering it’s a high level of fighting,” he said. “It’s definitely a goal of mine to try and back to the UFC by the end of this year or early next year, depending on how many fights I have in between.”
As to which organization he’ll sign with in the fall . . .
“There’s actually quite a few options out there for middleweights,” he said.
“It’s one division where there are some really quality opponents who are not with the UFC. Strikeforce is a fairly big organization that has been around a long time. They’re on good terms with the UFC and they have some top-level middleweights signed.
“That’s certainly an avenue I’d look at going and hopefully I could get a couple of high-quality fights there as well (as with the MFC).”
MacDonald might also look at pursuing his profession in Japan.
“It’s something that appeals to me because I’ve never been there,” he said. “I’m not sure that I’d want to make a career out of it over there, but if the offer came across my plate to go over and fight it’s certainly something I’d look at.”
His main goal, of course, is to regain his membership status with the UFC as soon as possible.
“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself after the horrible fight I had in Montreal, I’d never be able to walk away from the UFC like that,” he said. “So I’ll be trying my hardest to get back there and get into some more exciting fights.”
MacDonald suffered a 10-stitch cut above his eye just 10 days before the April 18 clash with Quarry, who immediately went to work on the wound.
“I don’t think I actually got into the fight,” he said. “I think the second punch he threw re-opened the cut from a 10-stitch to a 15-stitch gash. I’m not making excuses, maybe the outcome would not have been any different (without the cut), but there was a lot of blood and the ref jumped in right away.”
The method of loss was documented as a TKO by elbows.
Contact Greg Meachem at firstname.lastname@example.org