Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler has not only signed an eight fight extension, but according to the promotion’s Bjorn Rebney, the new deal makes the rising star one of the sport’s best compensated lightweights. News of the contract comes six days before Chandler will fight David Rickels on July 31st.
In a press release announcing Chandler’s extension, Rebney was quoted saying:
“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. 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.”
Chandler (11-0) has won eight straight fights with Bellator, and the 27 year-old’s breakout fight was his thrilling bout with Eddie Alvarez in 2011, which saw the wrestler take the belt with a fourth round, rear-naked-choke. Since then Chandler has scored additional wins over Akihiro Gono and Rick Hawn.
“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 said. “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. My focus right now is solely on David Rickels, and making sure we put on a show July 31st.”
Clearly Bellator has plans to continue building around Chandler, who is one of the promotion’s top fighters and one of the planet’s best lightweights.
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