Parnell: Rory MacDonald heading for the top

Sports reporter Kevin Parnell says it's nice to see someone live up to the hype, as mixed martial artist Roray MacDonald is doing

Kelowna trained Rory MacDonald looks to be reaching for the pinnacle of his sport.

Here in the Capital News sports department, we get a lot of calls and information coming to us about the next great thing, kids that are going to be the next Gretzky or the next Pele or the next Olympian in their sport.

And that’s cool. We love to cover young athletes who are having success in their sport.

It’s what we do.

But we can also count on one hand the number of those “can’t miss” kids that have actually made it to the very top of their game as adults. And that’s OK. Sometimes expectations are a touch high (hello parents), and other times great athletes who toil in amateur sports just tire of the endless chase of greatness and move on.

But there appears to be an exception to that general rule and he comes in the form of a now hulking beast by the name of Rory MacDonald.

When I started writing sports stories in Kelowna, MacDonald was maybe 15 and was a member at Toshido Mixed Martial Arts.

He was destined for big things, we were told, and like a lot of athletes, we started to follow his career through minor bouts to signing a five fight deal in the UFC that made him the organization’s youngest competitior and now into a well known rising star in the UFC.

At 23, MacDonald is living up to the hype.

Last weekend MacDonald made mince meat out of UFC legend BJ Penn, throttling one of the legends of the sport in a one-sided match that continued to establish MacDonald as a force.

He was huge, dominating and mean in improving his record to 14-1 and continuing to climb the ladder of the UFC.

To get to the top, you have to face adversity. And MacDonald did that in his third pro fight when Carlos Condit put a bad beating on the kid from Kelowna (by way of Quesnel).

MacDonald had that fight in the bag after two rounds, but got tagged in the third and ended up on the wrong side of TKO loss. It changed him as a fighter and immediately after his win over Penn, MacDonald vowed for his revenge.

“There is a guy that humiliated me a couple years ago and I want my revenge,” he told the audience in Seattle last weekend. “Carlos Condit, I want a rematch. Accept my challenge and I am going to get my revenge.”

Well this week the UFC made it official and MacDonald will get his chance and will fight Condit in Montreal in March at what will be UFC 158.

Condit is 28-6 and lost to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in his last fight.

If MacDonald does indeed get his revenge, he appears to be on track to eventually getting a title fight in the UFC.

Not everyone likes Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC, a sport and organization that has become one of the biggest in the world.

But to watch a kid that trained and grew up in Kelowna, rising to the top of his sport, is pretty cool. Those stories  don’t come along all that often. So let’s enjoy it.

Just Posted

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

Reworked plan for Kelowna’s Green Square development approved

After rejecting first version of residential development expansion, council says yes to new plan

Police searching for GoPro owner

Police are looking for the owner of a GoPro seized by police in Kelowna

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Two types of civic engagement in PIB

Some voted in the byelection, others protested the polls, as Penticton Indian Band fissures continue

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Most Read