If you didn’t know already, Bellator MMA is all in with Michael Chandler (pictured). On Friday, the promotion announced they have inked their former lightweight champion to a multi-year contract extension.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Michael Chandler is synonymous with our brand and doubles as an incredibly talented and exciting mixed martial artist,” said Bellator president Scott Coker. “Not every fighter or free agent aligns with our future plans, but when looking at Chandler’s resume, inking him to a long-term extension was a no-brainer. I look forward to getting him back in action as soon as possible.”
Bellator essentially threw all their eggs in Chandler’s basket after he upset Eddie Alvarez to capture the lightweight title at Bellator 58 in 2011. The instant classic won Fight of the Year.
Chandler went on to beat Akihiro Gono in a non-title tilt, then defended his belt two times before embarking on a three-fight skid that cost him his crown to Alvarez. He then lost in back-to-back outings to Will Brooks for the interim, then vacant lightweight title.
Chandler has managed to right the ship by posting two straight wins. He was last seen in November TKO’ing David Rickels.
Retaining Chandler’s services was imperative for Bellator, as they just acquired former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Bellator is hoping to challenge the UFC for possessing the world’s best 155-pounders.