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Zahabi: Rory MacDonald is realizing the good and ‘darker’ part of fighting

Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi speaks about Rory MacDonald’s post-fight statements after Bellator 220 last Saturday.

The opening round of Saturday night’s Bellator welterweight grand prix between Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch ended in an anticlimactic draw. This outcome led to the champion being noncommittal about his future, after admitting he’d been more hesitant as of late.

“God has really called me the last little while. He’s changed my spirit, changed my heart,” MacDonald said during his post-fight interview. “It takes a certain spirit to come in here and put a man through pain and stuff. I just don’t know if I have that same drive to hurt people anymore. I don’t know what it is. It’s confusing.”

His next opponent Neiman Gracie already called BS on MacDonald’s statements, but for his long-time coach Firas Zahabi, it’s more about coming to terms with the realities of fighting.

”A lot of fighters go through these kind of things,” Zahabi said on Monday’s episode of the Ariel Helwani Show on ESPN. “He’s not the first guy to see both sides of fighting -- the good part, the darker part -- and then kind of come to these realizations.

”Right after a fight, you’re so full of emotions. The pendulum might swing the other way. He might want to fight and continue and that’s what I think will happen.”

Despite such statements, Zahabi is expecting for his star fighter to continue on with his career.

”I really feel like he has a lot of fight left in him ... he’s a natural-born fighter. I think he’s going to continue on his journey. “

MacDonald and Gracie are slated to face each other at Bellator 222 on June 14th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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