Jon Fitch on standby for Bellator 222 in case Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie falters
Bellator officials confirmed to MMA Junkie that the former WSOF champ is on standby in case anything goes south with the welterweight grand prix semifinal between Rory MacDonald (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1-1 BMMA) and Neiman Gracie (9-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA).
Fitch (32-7-2 MMA, 1-0-1 BMMA) will weigh in on Friday along with other fighters on Saturday’s Bellator 222 card at Madison Square Garden in New York, officials told MMA Junkie’s John Morgan.
MacDonald, the current Bellator welterweight champ, advanced to the semifinals due to grand prix tournament rules that require a titleholder to move on in the event of a draw. Yet questions surrounded his ability – and willingness – to do so after he admitted he had doubts about his fighting future. He attempted to put those questions to rest by releasing a prepared statement welcoming the fight against Gracie.
Fitch said the loss to MacDonald could serve as his retirement fight. But it appears he changed course on that decision. And if an injury, weight issue, or other mishap rules out either semifinal competitor, he’ll be ready to step in the cage.
No doubt, a fill-in win would be the movie-worthy moment Fitch anticipated with a tournament crown. The $1 million prize awarded the winner wouldn’t be too bad, either.