Bellator 221 takes place at the Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois on Saturday, May 11
Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler doesn’t take fighting personally, it’s all just business to him, and he aims to not only be one of the greatest fighters of all-time, but also the best businessman of all-time in the sport.
As he heads into his matchup with Patricio “Pitbull” at Bellator 221, Chandler has ignored the fact that his opponent has made this fight personal, and he’s just looking to add another win to his record, and more money to his bank account. Speaking to MyMMANews at the Bellator 221 press conference in Chicago, Chandler opened up on his goal to become the best businessman of all-time, what this fight means for him, and more.
While his opponent claimed to make this fight personal, get revenge for Chandler beating his older brother, and looking to go out and “kill him”, Michael Chandler is just focused on the business in front of him. Chandler says he has set out to be different than most fighters in the sport.
“I just want to be different, man. I’m not trying to be the best fighter in MMA, I’m trying to be the best businessman in MMA. No offense to any of the media here, but 6 months after I retire you’re all going to forget about me and move on to the next big thing. I’m self-aware enough to realize that’s sports, that’s competition, that’s athletics.
So, the most money I can make, the most exposure I can get, the biggest paychecks I can get, that’s where I’m looking. That’s why you’ve seen me stay with Bellator for as long as I have. I’m a better businessman than the whole top-10 in any organization, let’s put it that way.”
Staying at home with Bellator has paid off in many ways for Michael Chandler, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. When asked what makes the connection between both parties strong, Chandler didn’t hold back, the money keeps the relationship strong.
“The money. I mean they take care of me. Let’s be honest, we can’t tip-toe around what this is, I’m a prize fighter, I’m a businessman. The moment I feel I’m fighting for less than I’m worth, I’m going to stop fighting. I’ll pull a Barry Sanders and retire. Until then, I’m going to keep fighting and providing for my family, taking care of the business, and just being smart. I’m about longevity and I’m about the depth of opening people’s minds and visions to what a mixed martial arts fighter can be.”
Wins and losses will just effect Michael Chandler’s record on paper, but as a businessman and ambassador of the sport, Chandler seeks to open the eyes of fans into the real life of a fighter. In an attempt to do so, Chandler has been very open about his career and has taken fans through the ride of peaks and valleys that a fighter will go through.
“People see us for 15 or 25 minutes at a time, they don’t realize that I’m a man with flesh and blood. They almost look at us like we’re not human, like we’re something different. We are truly just human beings trying to do the best we can to provide for our families. So, it’s good to give them that in-depth, it’s good to humanize us, it’s good to bring us into the level of your average person.
Fighting in Chicago also means Michael Chandler is fighting in his backyard, not too far from his home of St. Louis, Missouri, and he plans to bring the mentality of a small-town guy who made it for himself through self-belief.
“I was a small guy from a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri and taught to do small things. But, because I didn’t listen to those people telling me to yearn for security and safety and the fallback blanket, I was able to go out, take a chance on myself, bet on myself, and now here I am in front of millions of people providing for my family, a world champion, because I took a chance on myself.
So, if you’re being told things that are holding you back, if you’re being told to play it small, if you’re being told to not dream big, forget all of those people. Move forward with reckless abandonment, and pursue your dreams.”
His professional fighting career speaks for itself, Michael Chandler is among one of the greatest lightweight fighters of all-time, and as he prepares for his Bellator 221 fight against Patricio “Pitbull”, Chandler is solely focused on continuing to do business. For Chandler, being known for his work as a businessman more than as a fighter, is how he wants to be remembered.