Although Michael Chandler fights out of the UFC, for Bellator Fighting Championship, he is now one of the highest paid lightweights in MMA after the signing of his new contract:
"It's one of those things where it just feels right," Chandler said. "This deal, the negotiations and the meetings and the talks, everything was playing itself out, and it felt right. I felt that this was the right move to make. I love fighting in Bellator. They put a lot of faith in me, and they're using me a ton for advertising and continuing to sign top talent. I can guarantee they're going to continue to sign more and bigger talent. For me, it's just about continuing to fight. I want to continue to go out there and dominate and show my friends and family, my fans, how hard I've been working."
Of course, Chandler admitted, it helped that an ongoing legal battle between Bellator and Alvarez has made the details of the organization's offer to the former champ public knowledge. It showed him what Bellator was willing to pay a man he'd already beaten, and informed his own notion of what he should expect to make for a new deal, he said.
"It was a little bit [of a help] just to see what he was being offered," Chandler said. "I'm not a guy who spends a lot of time going to different websites and trying to figure out what guys are getting paid. Obviously, my passion is fighting, but yes, I do want to be compensated accordingly, and compensated as well as I possibly can. Especially being 27 years old, getting closer to 30, I want to be able to provide for my future wife and future kids."
The new contract should help him do that. Although neither would offer specifics about the financial figures involved, Rebney said repeatedly that this deal will put Chandler among the elite 155-pound earners.
"Obviously, our industry is not that large," Rebney said. "There's the UFC and Bellator. What the UFC pays its top lightweights and what Bellator pays is pretty common knowledge. It doesn't take a CIA agent to figure out what those numbers are, but I can tell you pretty unequivocally that Michael Chandler is now one of the top-paid lightweights in all of MMA."
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