Report | Dustin Poirier turned down Michael Chandler fight out of loyalty to Tony Ferguson

Dustin Poirier
Image via @dustinpoirier on Instagram

UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier reportedly turned down a fight against Octagon newcomer Michael Chandler out of loyalty to Tony Ferguson.

When the UFC announced this week that it signed the former Bellator lightweight champion to a free-agent contract, the signing came with a unique stipulation. UFC president Dana White confirmed that Chandler would be the backup for the UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. It’s an opportunity rarely given to a newcomer and it shows just how high the UFC is on Chandler.

When Chandler was announced as the backup, some fans and media wondered why he wasn’t given a fight against Ferguson or Poirier, who recently saw their proposed co-main event fight for UFC 254 fall apart. According to White, Poirier “didn’t want to fight” and so the UFC decided to remove both he and Ferguson from the card instead.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC later asked Poirier if he wanted to fight Chandler at UFC 254. But according to Helwani’s sources, Poirier declined to take the fight out of issues with pay and also due to his loyalty with Ferguson, who recently went to bat for Poirier when it came to getting a raise on his UFC contract.

According to sources, UFC offered Dustin Poirier the Michael Chandler fight yesterday but they couldn’t come to terms. One issue was the same as before – pay – but also sources say DP wanted to show the same loyalty to Tony Ferguson, who advocated for him both publicly/privately.

It’s unfortunate that the UFC wasn’t able to make the Ferguson vs. Poirier fight official for UFC 254 as that’s a fight that fans wanted to see. It’s also unfortunate that Chandler vs. Poirier couldn’t be the replacement, but you have to credit Poirier for sticking to his guns and showing the same respect to Ferguson that he showed to him. Hopefully, this is all sorted out and these fighters get to compete again soon.

Do you think the UFC will be able to salvage the Dustin Poirier vs. Tony Ferguson fight?