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Despite huge KO, Michael McDonald unsure if career can continue after latest injury at Bellator 202

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Michael McDonald is having an inner struggle after suffering what he believes is yet another hand break in his victory at Bellator 202.

McDonald (19-4 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) scored his most spectacular victory in recent years Friday when he stopped former bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas (20-6 MMA, 10-3 BMMA) by knockout in just 58 seconds in the Bellator 202 co-headliner, which took place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., and aired on Paramount following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

Despite the devastating nature of his win, McDonald, 27, is sure he suffered a broken left hand. That comes on the heels of suffering a break to his right hand in his Bellator debut in December, and continues a long string of hand injuries overall during his career.

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The high of a magnetic performance is leveled by the fact McDonald’s injury woes continue, and although he likely proved himself as the top contender in Bellator’s 135-pound division, he has serious concerns about his future.

“I need to do a lot more thinking,” McDonald told reporters after Bellator 202. “As a follower of Christ my main priority is service to God, and then my family. It really does weigh on me wondering what my life is going to look like with my family if this is how I am for the rest of my life. I really worry about that. I really need to do some thinking. This is not a cool thing.

“I feel like my life is kind of flashing before my eyes when this keeps happening. This is my fifth hand surgery, it’s going to be my fifth hand surgery in five, six years or something like that. It’s not how I want to live my life. That’s not what I was expecting when I signed up for this. It hurts inside.”

McDonald has yet to receive an official diagnosis on his hand, but he said he’s gone through enough injuries to judge the issue on feeling alone. He was forced to undergo surgery after his previous bout, and he seems to have little room for optimism that won’t be the case again.

“They showed the X-rays on the screen before the fight of my hand and this one feels exactly like that one, and that one was the worst one,” McDonald said. “This one feels identical, so that sucks. So I’m positive I’m going to need surgery. I’m super glad they’re going to pay for it, but you never hope that happens.”

McDonald wasn’t the only one to leave the cage with damage at Bellator 202. During the knockout sequence, Dantas rolled his ankle in a gruesome fashion, and was carried out of the cage with a splint on his leg. The Brazilian is expected to see a doctor in the coming days, but for a 58-second second fight, McDonald was shocked with what both he and his opponent had to endure.

“I do feel bad for the guy,” McDonald said. “That’s another thing: I’m supposed to be celebrating and this guy – I’m supposed to be happy and I potentially just ruined this guy’s life. I hope he’s going to be fine, I hope he can recover. I’m no stranger to surgeries. Hopefully he’ll get a surgeon and be good too.”

In the best-case scenario, McDonald’s hand injury wouldn’t be serious and he’s able to return to competition sooner than later. That would likely mean a date with reigning champ Darrion Caldwell (12-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA), who McDonald admitted he doesn’t know much about. He said his health comes first, but if he’s able to challenge for the title, he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.

“I’ve never been like, ‘I have to be the champ, I have to get this guy,'” McDonald said. “I’ve said it before: I don’t know what media requirements Bellator will have of me, I don’t know what the life would look like if I was their champion. Everyone wants to be champion, but I don’t exactly know how much they’d want me to fight, I don’t know how much they’d want me to talk, or how much they’d want me to travel. I can’t say anything about it because I don’t know anything about it. I’ve never been it.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 202, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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