Rumors to the contrary, Michael Chandler isn’t looking to move on from his Bellator pay-per-view loss to Will Brooks. He wants the rematch, not a fight with two-time Bellator tournament finalist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.
Chandler lost a five-round split decision to Brooks, which cost him the interim lightweight championship. The decision was controversial at best, and followed a split-decision loss to Eddie Alvarez in November.
Sources after the fight told MMAWeekly.com that Chandler had fought Brooks at less than his full capacity, something he alluded to during a recent interview with content partner The Great MMA Debate Podcast.
“My last fight, physically not being able to be the fighter that everybody wanted to see that night and go out there and lose a fight — be it controversial, be it not controversial — I want to be able to go out there and avenge that loss,” Chandler said, also affirming that he wanted another shot at Brooks.
“I’d love to be able to go out there and put a stamp on the fight with Will Brooks and beat him on a night and then go out there and finish that trilogy with Eddie Alvarez.”
Chandler’s manager, David Martin of the Martin Advisory Group, declined comment on the injury rumor at the time and only stated that he was hopeful his fighter could get healthy and earn the rematch he believes he deserves with Brooks later this year.
MMAWeekly.com recently followed up with Martin, who confirmed the fighter was dealing with some back issues prior the fight and actually had to get checked out at the Sanford Medical facility in South Dakota prior to his bout with Brooks.
It would have been easy for Chandler to succumb to the back issues and drop off the card, but the Bellator pay-per-view had already lost his original opponent in Alvarez, who had to withdraw due to suffering a concussion in training.
Chandler's desire to still take the fight and stay on the card after the Bellator pay-per-view was dealt such a heavy blow outweighed the injury.
Chandler is now resting and ready to book his next fight, although Martin denied rumors that his fighter was interested in returning to action in September against Patricky Pitbull as rumors have suggested.
“Michael Chandler stepped up and took the fight against Will Brooks when Bellator needed him and the decision that night was controversial at best,” Martin said. “We believe Michael deserves a rematch with Brooks and that's exactly what he wants for his next fight.”