Company president Scott Coker doesn’t envision Michael Chandler fighting anywhere but in the Bellator cage.
Chandler (18-4 MMA, 15-4 BMMA), a former lightweight champion, is one of the organization’s most tenured and recognizable fighters. In fact, he might be the most recognizable fighter on the roster, according to Coker.
“He’s the face of Bellator – for such a long time,” Coker told MMAjunkie this past weekend at Bellator 199. “The performances that he’s had in the cage – even before I got here – he’s been fantastic. He has one of the greatest fights in the history of this company, with him and Eddie Alvarez.
“We talked a little bit about the deal. But I want him to be happy. If anyone deserves it, Michael deserves it.”
Chandler, an honorable mention in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, recently told MMAjunkie Radio he’d like to stay with Bellator, where his current deal soon expires (though he hopes Bellator will give him a chance to fight for Rizin FF).
An exclusive negotiating period soon ends, and that could open the door for Chandler to talk to other promotions. The UFC, of course, could be the most attractive option, and the industry leader would certainly be interested in the 32-year-old former University of Missouri wrestler, who’s registered 14 stoppages in 18 career wins – many in highlight-reel fashion – and is currently on a 6-1 run.
Coker, though, is “confident we’ll get a deal done,” and he doesn’t think it’ll get to the point that Chandler talks to other promotions.
“We have every intent to keep him,” said Coker, who plans to talk to Chandler this week. “I feel we’ll get a deal done. …
“I think, really, Michael wants to stay, and we want to keep him, so I don’t even think we’ll get to this point (that he talks to the UFC).”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Scott Coker doesn't expect UFC to factor into contract talks with 'Face of Bellator' Michael Chandler