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Rory MacDonald banned from Bellator grand prix to keep him from knocking out Fedor Emelianenko

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight No. 1 contender, Rory MacDonald, was able to capture the crown from Douglas Lima at Bellator 192 last month in Inglewood, California.

Prior to his title-winning performance, MacDonald offered to serve as an alternate to the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, in case one of the existing entrants got bounced from the tourney due to injury of some other unforeseen circumstance.

Bellator President Scott Coker was impressed, but not interested. And according to comments from Coach Firas Zahabi, we might have an explanation as to why “Red King” was banned from jumping up three weight classes.

“Rory is in his prime, and Fedor (Emelianenko) is not,” Zahabi said. “I think if Rory catches him on the button — and he will — it will be a great name for him to collect. Rory has got that experience, has got that hunger. He’s in his prime now. Now’s the time to take those chances.”

Get in line.

Emelianenko was paired off with former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the quarterfinals of the grand prix, taking place this April (more on that here). The winner advances to face Chael Sonnen later this year.

“The American Gangster” earned his semifinal bid by turning away Rampage Jackson.

As for MacDonald, he’s still got work to do at 170 pounds, though no word yet from Bellator on what opponents are currently in the queue. Expect that announcement sooner, rather than later.