Coker On Chandler’s Future: ‘He’s Got To Do What He Has To Do’
The next few months will be interesting for Michael Chandler. The three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion is scheduled to be a free agent this year and is interested in exploring his options. If Bellator President Scott Coker had a say, a Chandler return wouldn’t be that unrealistic.
Coker joined Bellator in 2014, with Chandler being around since 2010. He has seen Chandler create records for Bellator and compete in huge fights. While he is not breaking the bank as of now for Chandler to stay, Coker is looking at all of the options that can take place.
“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.”
Chandler has amassed a 17-5 record with Bellator. The collegiate wrestler from the University of Missouri holds plenty of records, including most stoppage wins (12), most title reigns (3), most title bouts (10) and most submission victories in the lightweight division. He is also second (17) with the most wins in Bellator and in a three-way tie for most submission wins (6).
Coker made sure to point out that Bellator has become a premier spot for free agents. Names like Cris Cyborg, Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi and Leslie Smith come to mind. That may entice Chandler to stay.
The last fight on his contract was supposed to be a contender bout against Benson Henderson. Set to take place at Bellator 244 on June 6, the promotion postponed the event due to the coronavirus. Looking to wait until the pandemic has subsided, Coker is in no rush. Coker praised Chandler and stated that a win against Henderson could result in big things for him.
“We’ll take it after his fight with Benson, we’ll decide what we’re going to do,” Coker went on to say. “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.”