Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Macdonald: “Quitting Never Entered My Mind!”

By Kesey Mowatt

On the heels of his TKO loss to former middleweight champion Rich Franklin at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s “Uprising” event this past weekend, FCF caught up with Jason “The Athlete” Macdonald to hear his thoughts on the fight. The loss was Macdonald’s first in 7 fights, and his first competing in the UFC, after the Pro Camp fighter defeated Chris Leben and Ed Herman on route to UFC 68. Macdonald’s corner threw in the towel after round two ended, as although the Canadian fighter managed to survive a vicious onslaught from Franklin to end the round, Macdonald’s vision was drastically reduced.

“The last two punches of the round hit me square in the right eye and my vision in that eye went black,” Macdonald tells FCF. “I was in a lot of trouble at the end of the round and was unsure if (referee) Herb (Dean) had stopped it or not, but I managed to make it through. As I got up I was on rubber legs and started back to my corner when the Doctor asked me something not sure what, like I said I was wobbled and could not see out of my right eye. I went to my corner and Mark (Pavelich) said look at me but I could not see him with out turning my head and looking through my left eye which was badly swollen. Let me be very clear at no time did I say I was done or to quote some of the people on the net I quit!”

Macdonald is referring to some of the comments and speculation that have been a topic of conversation on several internet MMA forums.

“Remember I was the one moving forward on Rich not running away! I was on rubber legs though and could not see out of my right eye. Mark saw this and made the decision to stop the fight. I did not even really know what went down but I never said I was done! Looking back Mark made the right choice because like I said I was in a lot of trouble and could not see out of my eye. I got 7 stitches in that eye and the doctor said it was probably just a broken blood vessel that caused the loss of vision. I can see now but I am having a lot of pain looking to the side so I am having another doctor look at it here at home and x-ray it. What is funny is the flack we are taking for this. Randy (Couture) stopped when Ricco (Rodriguez) busted his eye and (Jeremy) Horn stopped when Chuck (Liddell) busted his eye but when I get my eye busted by Rich, I'm all of a sudden a quitter! The fans of this sport can be crazy like that. Like I said I was the one moving forward the whole fight! Quitting never entered my mind!”

Despite the loss, Macdonald was quick to give credit to Franklin, who, by all indications, will face the man who defeated him for the title, Anderson Silva, in the near future.

“Well I thought Rich fought a very safe fight,” says Macdonald. “He was not as aggressive as we have seen him be in the past. I'm not sure if that was part of his game plan to not come after me for fear of being taken down, or if he was not taking any risks just trying to get the win and get back on track. My game was to go out there and to get the take down but not force it too much. I think Rich not coming after me got me trying to force the take down too much but he never hurt me standing or really landed anything clean standing. I feel I have pretty good stand up but just have not shown it yet in the UFC. The Herman fight was too fast and Leben and Rich were both lefthanders so I could not use my long reach as effectively against them. To Rich's credit I was not able to establish a good solid top position on him to work my ground and pound and open up a submission. Rich fought a good smart safe fight.”

As for his own future, Macdonald will first have to heal up from his injuries before returning to the Octagon.

“I'm real thankful to the UFC and to all the fans out there supporting me right now that have helped me in the rise to the top of this division in a short time. I have a huge fan following in the and actually got a louder cheer than Tim Sylvia, even being in Franklin 's home town. I really feel I am one of the top five in this division and will beat 90% of the guys in this division right now. I will take a little break and get healed up and then get back in the gym and get back to work improving my weaknesses and preparing for my next fight who ever it may be. There are a few good match ups the UFC could have for me like (Martin) Kampmann, (Dean) Lister; ( Kendall ) Grove's any of the top middleweights. I will be waiting for the call!”

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