Rory MacDonald's cut has opened up a feud with BJ Penn that has gone beyond innocent trash talk.
A bout that was initially based on the respect of a rising, young star facing an MMA legend has turned into something much uglier.
Penn is upset at MacDonald for withdrawing from their scheduled UFC 152 bout. According to "The Prodigy," the cut is only a "detail" in a more elaborate reason for MacDonald not to step into the cage on September 22.
"I know the reason why Rory pulled out on September 22," Penn told Sherdog.com. "The cut is a detail, but I know the reason why he pulled out is because he knew he wasn't going to win.
"If he let the cut heal, tried to train, whatever it was, brother he should have been in shape already by the time he came in. For sure now, 10 weeks—10 weeks, I never heard of a guy pulling out of a fight 10 weeks from a cut."
Penn makes some interesting points. Surely, it wouldn't take 10 weeks for MacDonald's cut to heal, but what about training? As announced by UFC President Dana White, MacDonald would have to go at least a month without any physical contact, which could seriously hamper his training camp.
If he ignores medical advice and trains anyway, he runs the risk of getting the cut infected and prolonging the injury.
MacDonald was in a tough situation, but he believes he made the right decision. With the bout now rescheduled for December 8, he has plenty of time to heal his wounds and put in a proper training camp for the biggest fight of his young career.
In an interview with Sportsnet.ca's Tim and Sid, MacDonald addressed Penn's remarks about him pulling out of the fight to avoid a loss.
That's just a bunch of [BS] because not only do I know I'm going to win, I'll probably end up killing him. He can't rile me up. I just think he's a joker. He's trying to get attention and his fans hyped up. He can do what he wants. I just want him to accept the fight for December.
If plans go accordingly, Penn and MacDonald will join a stacked UFC on FOX 5 card, which also features Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson and the lightweight title bout between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz.
Can Penn derail the young phenom, or will MacDonald add a legendary name to his ever-growing résumé?