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Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler discusses Bellator future and becoming a free agent

Bellator star Michael Chandler is one of the promotion’s longest reigning fighters. Chandler’s first fight with Bellator came in 2010 and now there’s a chance this year could be his last with the promotion.

The former Bellator lightweight champion has one fight left on his contract. Originally that fight was going to happen on June 6 in a rematch against Benson Henderson, but the fight was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chandler (20-5) told MMA Junkie Junkie Radio that he would like to stay with Bellator, but he hasn’t thrown out the idea of fighting elsewhere.

“I’ve been very vocal about it: I would love to retire a Bellator fighter,” Chandler said on MMA Junkie Radio.

“I would love to be the guy who started with the organization in 2010 and retired from the organization however many years from now. But if that’s not in the cards, that’s not in the cards. This is a business, and I have my people to take care of, and that’s my wife and my son. We’ll make the best decision possible, but there’s no doubt there’s a lot of buzz out here when it comes to fantasy matchups and all that kind of stuff. So I just let the fans talk and let my fighting do the talking inside of the cage.”

Chandler has been one of the top draws in Bellator and he feels that he helps the promotion make money every time that he fights.

“I’m always one of the marque guys on the cards,” Chandler said. “I do put butts in seats, I do have a large stable of deep-seated fanbase and that looks at me somewhat of that underground fighter – that guy that people watch specifically because they know I do it for the love of the game. They know I do it because I love inflicting harm on people, I love going out there and getting into a fist-fight.”

Bellator president Scott Coker has made it public that he’s not sure what the future holds for Chandler. He also made note of Chandler’s age and while Chandler might be 33-years-old, Chandler doesn’t feel like a veteran fighter.

“I feel the best I’ve ever been,” Chandler said. “Scott Coker alluded to the fact that I’m not 21 anymore, but I also wasn’t a fighter at 21. I didn’t start fighting until I was 22, 23 years old. I feel like I’ve done nothing but improved and get better since I turned even 30, even now as a mature man, as a father and a family man who’s got lot more to fight for the I did back in the day.”

Chandler is starting to look at the UFC, ONE Championship and PFL as possible landing spots, but he still thinks there’s a chance of resigning with Bellator.

“Truthfully, the decision rests solely on my shoulders and me making the best decision for myself and my family,” Chandler explained. “I think I’m going to (go elsewhere), or Bellator makes that decision for me, and they make it easy for me. So we’ll see.”

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