For a moment, it looked possible that former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler might leave his long-time home and sign with another promotion. In the end, however, Chandler has reportedly resigned with Bellator.
This, per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, who says Bellator pursued Chandler “hard.”
Breaking: Michael Chandler is staying put with Bellator MMA. Sources say Chandler has signed a new multi-fight deal to continue fighting in Bellator. Chandler's last deal ended earlier this year and he was open to looking around, but Bellator pursued him hard.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) August 22, 2018
“Michael Chandler is staying put with Bellator MMA,” Okamoto reported on Twitter. “Sources say Chandler has signed a new multi-fight deal to continue fighting in Bellator. Chandler’s last deal ended earlier this year and he was open to looking around, but Bellator pursued him hard.”
This development is in keeping with some previous comments from Chandler, when he suggested, pre free-agency, that he was not inclined to leave his long-time home.
“I have no intentions of leaving Bellator,” Michael Chandler said on a June episode of MMAjunkie Radio.
“We’ll see what happens, but to me, I don’t think there would be any other interest for me to go anywhere else besides Bellator or the UFC,” Michael Chandler added. “Obviously, I’m very happy with where I’m at right now. But there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t constantly think about this career that I have moving forward.”
While Chandler is headed back to Bellator, the jury is still out on the chief rival of his career, former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez, whose UFC contract recently wrapped up, could well wind up returning to the Bellator cage. That’s something Chandler would be very happy about.
“I have a ton of respect for him as a fighter, and I just want to see the best for him,” Chandler told MMAjunkie. “If that means staying with the UFC, I hope he stays in the UFC. If that means coming to Bellator, I would love to welcome him to Bellator and finish that trilogy. There’s not a day that’s gone by recently since he announced that this last fight was the last fight on his contract, that people haven’t stopped talking about the trilogy.”
What do you think the future holds for former Bellator champ Michael Chandler?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/22/2018.