It appears that Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje will require a new date and venue following the newly introduced mandates in the state of New York.
Chandler and Gaethje recently agreed to a highly anticipated lightweight showdown at UFC 268, which is set to take place on November 6 at Madison Square Garden.
However, due to New York’s new mandates that require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment events, Michael Chandler says he will not be allowed to compete.
The former Bellator lightweight champion explained the dilemma during a recent Instagram Live session.
“I just saw that New York is dropping some heavy mandates on the city of New York City,” Chandler said via MMAJunkie. “Basically, they’re requiring you to be vaccinated (and) show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor performances and entertainment. Obviously a UFC card, a UFC fight being thrown at Madison Square Garden is considered indoor entertainment and indoor performance. I will not be vaccinated at that point. I don’t know how many fighters, if I was to fight on that Nov. 6 card – or whoever is fighting on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden – I don’t know how many fighters will be vaccinated. I don’t really have a tally on who is or isn’t.”
Michael Chandler continued:
“It’s not that I’m anti-vax. It’s not that I don’t believe in the vaccine, necessarily. I’m just not going to get the vaccine until it’s 100 percent FDA approved. We’ve had hundreds of clinical trials, just like we had the vaccines that my son has had – measles and chicken pox and all of the vaccines that have been around for 100 years that have been proven. We shall see. I don’t know what’s going to happen. More than anything, the chances of the UFC being able to sell out Madison Square Garden with only people that are vaccinated really cuts down their ability to sell out Madison Square Garden. So I don’t really know. I think it calls into question if Madison Square Garden will actually happen, to be honest with you guys. The UFC is brilliant and geniuses at putting things together and putting their fights together. But as I said, I’m not anti-vaccine. I think vaccines are effective. I think it’s everybody’s choice whether they want to take the vaccine. I won’t be vaccinated by Nov. 6, so I won’t be able to perform or entertain at Madison Square Garden. So we shall see.”
Michael Chandler most recently competed at May’s UFC 262 event, where he suffered a TKO loss to Charles Oliveira in his bid for the promotions then vacant lightweight title.