While the Professional Fighters League is on hiatus due to COVID-19, training and family are keeping Canadian MMA fighter Rory (Red King) MacDonald busy.
The 30-year-old welterweight offers a look at his life in "Red King Rundown," a six-part digital series from the PFL that starts Tuesday.
It's a bite-sized show, with each episode lasting about five minutes. The PFL says it is a combination of footage shot by MacDonald on his phone, Zoom interviews with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Randy (The Natural) Couture and Douglas Lima, and archival footage from MacDonald's career.
"Red King Rundown" will air on the PFL's YouTube channel.
"There's family stuff in there," said MacDonald, whose kids will turn one and four this summer. "I'm really not sure how they edited it. I haven't seen it either yet ... It should be a pretty cool show. I'm excited to see how they put things together."
With the PFL announcing in April that it is pushing back its 2020 season to next spring, the organization has looked to produce original MMA content via its newly formed PFL Studios.
MacDonald has also started his own YouTube channel, offering boxing and jiu-jitsu tutorials as well as highlights.
Unlike other MMA organizations, the PFL is based around a campaign rather than individual fight cards. A regular season is followed by playoffs and a championship featuring fighters squaring off for a title and US$1-million purse.
"It keeps me hungry and motivated," MacDonald said of the performance-based format. "It's a busy schedule ... I know I'm going to have things lined up ahead of time. I don't have to guess when I'm up next. I have something to prepare for all year long.
"So I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to be having my best years ahead of me in the next couple of years, I think."
In 2019, the regular season featured cards in May, June, July and August. The top eight fighters in each weight class advanced to the single-elimination playoffs in October with two then advancing to the New Year's Eve finals.
Ray (Bradda Boy) Cooper III won the welterweight title, defeating David (Bulldawg) Michaud by second-round TKO. Cooper lost the 2018 final to Russian Magomed Magomedkerimov.
"They have a really good division," MacDonald said of the PFL 170-pounders. "I think a lot of the top guys can compete on the highest level anywhere. I'm going to have to be at my best. And plus I want to go out there and show that I am still one of the top welterweights in the world."
MacDonald (21-6-1) had been slated to make his PFL debut June 3 in Halifax.
"I was pretty excited about it, to be honest. I fought in Halifax once before and it was a great show," said MacDonald, who beat Tarec Saffiedine at a UFC show in October 2014 in the Nova Scotia capital.
MacDonald joined the PFL in December from Bellator, where he won and lost the welterweight title. He was a top 170-pound contender in the UFC prior to that, losing a memorable title bout with (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 in July 2015.
PFL chairman Peter Murray has called MacDonald "a game-changer for the PFL."
A B.C. native who now calls Montreal home, MacDonald defended his Bellator title twice before losing to Lima, the former champion, last time out in October 2019.
MacDonald says he is back to his normal training regimen, with the Tristar gym open to a small group of fighters, as he awaits a return to action.
"I'm just trying to get better, to be honest," he said. "At the start of this quarantine, I was really trying to just improve on things that I feel I needed to work on. Just trying to get myself better. Because there's really nothing else you can do. If you sit around waiting, you're just getting further behind."
The PFL says it is paying a monthly cash stipend to its fighters to help support throughout 2020.
MacDonald's record in Bellator was 3-2-1. His other defeat came at the hands of middleweight champion Gegard (The Dreamcatcher) Mousasi at Bellator 206 in September 2018.
He said he plans to stay at welterweight, although he did not discount a move up to middleweight later in his career — saying if he does go up in weight, he would train differently than last time.
"I don't think I was in the right mindset to fight at middleweight, especially a guy like Mousasi, at that time."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press