Michael McDonald, one of Bellator MMA’s bigger signings over the past year, has flown mostly under the radar in recent months. After asking for (and receiving) his release from the UFC, McDonald signed with Bellator in the Spring, but it’s been all quiet in regards to his debut since. Now, Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker has told MMA Junkie that McDonald will make his promotional debut in December, at a card in Newcastle, England. The event does not yet have a name/number, and McDonald’s opponent has not yet been determined.
McDonald (17–4) was a consistent presence in the top ten of the UFC’s bantamweight division, and fought for the interim UFC bantamweight title against Renan Barao at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in 2013. That fight, in which McDonald was submitted by “The Baron,” served as the card’s main event.
From that point forward, McDonald went 2-2 in the UFC, defeating Brad “One Punch” Pickett and Masanori Kanehara while suffering losses to Urijah Faber and John Lineker, the latter of which came in his final UFC fight. McDonald, who struggled with injuries towards the end of his UFC run, then asked for his release, citing the UFC’s “dishonest” business practices.
McDonald’s Bellator debut comes nine months after leaving the UFC, and well over a year since his most recent bout against Lineker, which went down in July of 2016 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 91.