September 30, 2018

Michael McDonald: A Talent That Was Taken From the Sport Too Soon

By Raphael Garcia

Mixed martial arts is a dangerous sport in which injuries are bound to happen at some point or another. Regardless of whether it’s from a shot taken in the cage or an accidental moment in training, injuries are going to pile up. Unfortunately for many fighters, some have their careers hampered by injuries to the point that they are cut tragically short. That’s the case of Michael McDonald, who announced his retirement from MMA last week.

The 27-year-old McDonald was one of the top prospects in the sport for a long time, but could never reach his full potential due to multiple injuries. On Thursday, he took to social media and ESPN to announce that he is leaving the sport that he loved, posting this on his Instagram account:

“Today I am officially retiring from MMA fighting and I plan on never competing in martial arts competitions again. I had a wonderful career and a wonderful staff, and even greater – a wonderful wife and a wonderful God to thank for all the great moments.”

Great moments came often early in McDonald’s career, but the pace was not kept up during the last few years. "Mayday" reached his high point when he challenged Renan Barao for the UFC bantamweight title back at UFC on Fuel TV 7. McDonald was riding a four-fight win streak and many pegged him as the youthful talent that was ready to upend the champion. The Brazilian would have other plans though, as he worked McDonald over for much of the fight, finishing him in the fourth round.

From that point on, McDonald would struggle to remain a viable threat to the title, not so much due to losing fights, but also due to injuries that would keep him out for extended periods of time. From 2013 to 2018 he would fight only seven times. That includes a near three-year break after being defeated by Urijah Faber at UFC on Fox 9. His final UFC appearance came against John Lineker where he fell to a violent knockout punch.

McDonald would reemerge in Bellator MMA, and he immediately reminded everyone that he’s a tough opponent for anyone. He defeated Peter Ligier first, but his 58-second knockout of former champion Eduardo Dantas was what had everyone thinking that McDonald could be a contender for the organization’s title. But sadly, another hand injury would push him to the shelf, leading to his eventual stepping away from the sport.

Michael McDonald was poised to take mixed martial arts by storm at multiple points throughout his career. Sadly for him and his fans, his body would not cooperate, and now the sport is losing a young individual who had the potential to be a long term star. We wish him the best, though he will be missed



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