Promotional Analysis: Daley versus MacDonald
For most MMA fans, the excitement of this match stems primarily from the return of Rory MacDonald. The biggest star in Canadian MMA has signed with the newly ambitious Bellator and there is great interest to see how Rory may look in this new home. He’s coming back from two losses- losses that saw him fall from title challenger to being deemed superfluous. This is an opportunity for a reinvention and Bellator are in the business of star-crafting. Rory can become a face of this Strikeforce 2.0 that Scott Coker is running. There will be a huge PR push behind him; they will try to refine his gimmick as the Canadian superstar, the first of the new gen and as the coldhearted psycho.
The promotion must focus on: selling their new face, promoting the significance of the signing and Rory’s comeback mission.
Nationalism / Home Town Hero
Despite being a night seemingly built around Rory- the fight will take place in the home country of his opponent- Paul Daley. Daley is an interesting figure in MMA, he joined the UFC in 2009 after making a name for himself on the European circuit, hit the ground running, stringing together three wins en route towards a prime Josh Koscheck and a fight that would decide the next welterweight title challenger. Koscheck defeated Daley and the frustrated Englishman hit him after the bell- a move that would then earn him a life-time disinvitation from the UFC. Dismissed to the sea of second fiddle shows, "Semtex" has been a nomadic wanderer of the MMA regional scene, whilst still maintaining relevancy the entire time. He remains a draw in Britain, has continually been able to headline shows, had a legendary feud with the one and only Nick Diaz. He currently sits as a highly regarded component of the Bellator roster. Now he returns home to face Rory MacDonald- a true elite level welterweight- in a fight that sees England take on Canada. The flags will be waving and anthems will be sung. National pride is a trope follows MacDonald, he is the most popular figure in Canadian MMA and those fans will be there to support him as he enters the lion’s den.
The promotion must focus on: Reinforcing the image of Rory as the biggest Canadian star, Daley’s bond with British MMA fans and the hostile crowd Rory may face as he enters the foreign cage.
Many were surprised that Rory did not receive an immediate title shot for his promotional debut. Being such a huge coup for Bellator, most felt they would rush to slap a belt on him. Not the case, a title eliminator with the forever compelling Paul Daley will serve as his debut. Daley is coming off a huge, flying knee KO of Brennan Ward. The winner of this fight will face the winner of Lima-Larkin.
The promotion must focus on: the welterweight Grand Prix that will decide the fate of Lima’s belt.