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Friday, 07/26/2013, 11:20 am

Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler Signs New 8 Fight Contract

By JAKE CHASTAIN

| When you find something you like, you have to do everything in your power to keep it. That’s exactly the mindset Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had when he went out and offered his current lightweight champion a new, long-term contract.

BJPenn.com has gained word that Michael Chandler has just signed a new contract with Bellator FC for eight more fights.

“In all my years in combat sports, I’ve never seen the growth and development in a fighter like we’ve all witnessed with Michael Chandler,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I believe Michael is the best lightweight in MMA. And, given that, I felt it was paramount to keep Michael at Bellator for the long term. Both inside and outside the cage, Michael is a tremendous representative for our Bellator. And, now as one of the highest paid lightweights in MMA, he’s without question earned that distinction.”

Chandler has been a phenom in the Bellator lightweight stables and has dominantly pushed his MMA record to 11-0. He is now 8-0 inside the Bellator cage with 6 of those 8 victories coming by way of stoppage. Chandler took the belt from former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez back in 2011 and has since rattled off two more wins and will now look to defend his belt for a second consecutive time at the end of this month.

Chandler is scheduled to defend his title against David Rickels on July 31st at on SPIKE TV and with the new contract signed with the company Chandler will likely be looking to put on a spectacular show to help justify his newly signed eight fight contract with the company.

“Since I signed with Bellator back in 2010, Bjorn laid out a plan for me of how he saw my career progressing and what type of levels we could reach together, and everything has come true,” Chandler said. “I couldn’t be happier with the situation I’m in right now. Bellator is my home, it’s where I want to be, and it’s where I’m going to continue to defend my belt. Over the last few months you’ve continued to see Bellator go out and sign some of the best talent in the world, and the tournaments continue to be loaded with talent that I’m ready to take on. I believe in this format and what Bellator is doing, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. My focus right now is solely on David Rickels, and making sure we put on a show July 31st.”

Just to break it down a little further, if Chandler fights twice a year as a champion (he’ll make his second appearance this year against Rickels next week) his contract could span over the next four years. That’s a long time to be locked into a deal, especially considering how fast things can change in this sport. But Chandler has, at this point in time, undoubtedly done everything in his power to justify such a large contract extension. Still, the large signing has raised a few eyebrows around the MMA community.

So, with the news of Chandler’s new eight-fight contract, does anyone here think that Bellator made the right move by locking him up signing him to the long-term deal or do you think that they may have jumped the gun a little early with this contract, or possibly made it too large of a contract? Let’s hear what the fans have to say. Sound off, Penn Nation!

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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