Despite a huge win at Bellator 202, another hand injury is forcing top bantamweight Michael McDonald to evaluate where he goes from here — and if he continues in the sport.
Michael McDonald scored arguably the biggest win of his career at Bellator 202 on Friday. Yet the win carried a sombre note with it: opponent Eduardo Dantas suffered a horrific leg injury, rolling onto his ankle during the finishing sequence. McDonald had just dropped the former two-time bantamweight champion. Dantas’ leg appeared broken, and after the fight, McDonald revealed that he’d injured (and potentially broken) his hand as well.
Yet the hand wasn’t the only thing bothering him. “Emotionally I feel very good, physically I’m hurting a little bit,” he told Cageside Press and other media outlets post-fight in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
“Believe it or not, what hurts the most is my knee, from getting rug burn,” he explained. “If you look at the replay, while I’m hitting this guy, I’m just repeatedly smashing my knee, giving myself rug burn. So that hurts more than anything right now. Very strange.”
“I feel like my life is kind of flashing before my eyes right now as this is happening.”
The rug burn won’t keep him out in the long run, however. The hand injury? That’s another matter. “I need to do a lot more thinking. As a follower of Christ my main priority is service to God and then to my family,” McDonald said. “It really does weigh on me wondering what my life’s going to look like with my family if this is how I am for the rest of my life. I really need to do some thinking, this is not a cool thing.”
Not cool at all. The Dantas win should be the biggest of his career, after all. Instead he’s left contemplating whether he’ll still have a career. “I feel like my life is kind of flashing before my eyes right now as this is happening,” ‘Mayday’ said, “this being my fifth hand surgery in five or six years, something like that. It’s not how I want to live my life. That’s not what I was expecting when I signed up for this. It hurts inside.”
It’s especially disappointing given how good his training camp went. “Training went flawlessly. Every single workout, I worked as hard as I could possible work, smart… the only way I could work any harder is if I was taking steroids,” he stated. “I was very happy with training camp, weight cut went perfect.”
On the plus side, it looks like Bellator will cover the cost of any hand surgery. “I’m super glad they’re going to pay for it, you just never hope that happens.”
Following a theme from our interview with McDonald prior to Bellator 202, ‘Mayday’ was hesitant to talk about title shots, even if he does stick around the sport. “I’ve never been like ‘I have to be the champ, I have to get this guy,'” he explained. “I don’t know what media requirements Bellator will have of me. I don’t know what the life would look like if I was their champion. Everybody wants to be champion,” he admitted, “but I don’t exactly know how much they’d want me to fight, I don’t know how much they’d want me to talk, or how much they’d want me to travel. I can’t say anything about it, because I don’t know anything about it. I’ve never been it.”
Instead of focusing on belts, “all that’s on my mind is just to do my absolute best, every single day.”
On the topic of opponent Dantas, McDonald took the injury hard. “I do feel bad for the guy,” he said. “I’m supposed to be celebrating, I’m supposed to be happy, and I potentially just ruined this guy’s life.”
“I hope he’s going to be fine. I hope he can recover. I’m not stranger to surgeries, hopefully he can get a good surgeon and be repaired too,” he added.
Don’t miss the full post-fight press scrum with Michael McDonald following Bellator 202 above.