t1


It appears the longstanding relationship between Michael Chandler and Bellator will be tested after the former champion’s next fight.

Chandler (20-5 MMA, 17-5 BMMA), a three-time lightweight champion who holds promotional records for title-fight victories and overall finishes, recently revealed he will be a free agent after his next fight. It’s the first time Chandler will test the open market since joining the promotion in September 2010, as both sides always managed to strike a deal before reaching that stage.

This time will be different, though. There doesn’t appear to be any ill will between the two sides, but Coker said the issue requires closer examination.

“He’s done it all,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “He’s not 21 anymore. He’s got to do what he has to do and we’ll be talking to him. But I’m not sure where he’ll end up. But we’ll go back and look at the statistics of the gate, the type of fights he put on and the ratings and see what type of formula we can put together to make him a good offer. But, free agency works both ways.

“Just like we got Gegard (Mousasi) and Ryan Bader and (Cris) Cyborg – we’ve done our fair share of damage in the free agency market. Free agency works both ways. Michael is going to look for the best deal and we’ll see. Who knows? He could end up with us.”

Chandler, 33, does have one fight remaining on his contract, and it’s expected to be a rematch with Benson Henderson. The pair were scheduled to fight at Bellator 244 on June 6, but the coronavirus pandemic caused Bellator to postpone the event. Coker said Bellator is targeting a tentative return to action in July, and his hope is re-book the matchup with Henderson, then make a decision on Chandler’s status after.

Whether the sides strike a deal or Chandler’s lengthy tenure with Bellator comes to an end, Coker expressed high regard for the fighter.

“We’ll take it after his fight with Benson, we’ll decide what we’re going to do,” Coker said. “Michael has been a great ambassador and a great role model for mixed martial arts. Not just Bellator, but I heard about Michael before I came over here. His fights with Eddie Alvarez were prior to my coming on board and they were some of the best fights in the history of mixed martial arts.”



Source link