According to Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney, Michael Chandler (pictured) has just become one of the game’s highest paid players. On Thursday, Bellator announced their reigning lightweight champion has inked an eight-fight contract extension to remain with the Viacom-owned organization.
“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,” 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.”
Financial terms of Chandler’s deal were not disclosed.
Chandler owns an unblemished 11-0 professional record. The 27-year-old emerged onto the MMA scene by taking Season 4 of Bellator’s lightweight tournament to earn a shot at then-champ Eddie Alvarez.
Chandler has won both of his bouts since submitting Alvarez in 2011’s “Fight of the Year,” with one of the scraps being of the title defense variety.
He is slated to put his belt up for grabs against David Rickels on July 31.
“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 stated. “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.”