Walkout music comes before the fighter. You often hear it before you see then either on the broadcast or in person at a live event. It sets the tone, sometimes sends a message and, on rare occasions, define who a fighter is in ways nothing else can (e.g. B.J. Penn).
Of course, that all presumes the fighter is the one picking their entrance music. In the case of UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald, that hasn't been his experience, at least not until relatively recently.
The story is a bit strange - and totally true - and, as MacDonald explains, entirely true.
"I moved from Pomona to Montreal and I changed my phone number. The person who got my old number - the person who was dealing with the walkout music, his name is Jason," MacDonald explained, "he doesn't just do walkout music, but he was the one contacting me. He didn't get my new number.
"He had my old one and he texted, 'Hey Rory, what's your next entrance music?' This guy apparently pretended to be me because he knew who I was and he was picking my entrance music. I was like, 'Every time I come out to fight, I'm like why the hell is this playing? I didn't pick this.' It was so weird."
MacDonald claims it didn't bother him to the point where it affected his performance, but he wasn't exactly thrilled with how some of the music choices were received by others.
"Not that I really cared. It's not the biggest deal for me. It's just music, you know. Whatever. I was kind of frustrated. It was weird. Joe Rogan was making fun of me for my music. I'm like, 'Aw man, this sucks a little bit.'"
Eventually, as MacDonald explains, the jig was up. An impromptu chat with 'Jason' the producer lead the two to figure out there was a third party there directing things in their own amusing way.
"And then one day - I can't remember what the fight was - but Jason comes up to me and he's like, 'Oh man, sorry we can't play such-and-such song.' He named the song and I was like, 'What are you talking about, man?' I think it was a Nickelback song. He's like, 'You said you wanted this song when I texted you.' I'm like, 'Dude, I never said that.'
"He's like, 'I'll show you.' He showed me and I said, 'Dude, that's my old number. Who are you talking to?' So he calls the guy and is like, 'Dude, this is not Rory MacDonald. You're faking.' He's like,' Oh yeah, I'm just a fan. I was just pretending.'"
MacDonald said this happened for a few years, although he notes it was he who picked choices ranging from Metallica to Rihanna. He also notes he didn't get to pick his own music until UFC 145 when he faced Che Mills. "I like plenty of different music," he claimed.
MacDonald is the first to reiterate, for him, walkout music isn't the be-all, end-all. It's good to have, but he acknowledged what happened to him was funny. Still, he's happy to have control over his choices now.
"It's not really the biggest thing on my mind that week, so I don't even think about it. It just kind of happens. Someone asks me what song I want, I say it. That's the kind of the end of the thought of it. I don't know, it's a funny thing that happened. It's nice to actually be able to choose my music now.
"It's just music, man," he said. "It's whatever."
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