Michael Chandler: Primus Can Walk Around With His ‘Hefner Jacket & Fake Belt’

USATSI 10130101 168382968 lowres

Last Saturday night’s (June 24, 2017) hyped Bellator NYC was supposed to be an opportunity to showcase his spot among MMA’s best 155-pound fighters, but instead, Michael Chandler saw his much-less-ballyhooed opponent Brent Primus emerge with the belt in Madison Square Garden after Chandler was resigned to essentially fighting on one leg after clearly harming his ankle.

But even though that was the case, Chandler managed to rock Primus with one of his trademark big right hands despite being hardly able to stand. Shortly thereafter, the highly-derided New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) stepped in to stop the bout, and Primus was the de facto champion. Chandler is understandably angry at the situation, yet he did all he could to look at the mess from a positive light during an appearance on The MMA Hour this week, noting that he had no serious injuries to deal with.

To him, it was unfortunate the fight was called off right after he rocked Primus:

“Nothing’s broken,” Chandler said. “I went straight to the ER, the doctors at Bellevue ER, I got in, they X-rayed it, nothing broken. It’s a good thing. I could be just getting out of surgery right now with a rod in my leg. Luckily, I’m not. The unfortunate part of the situation was, that ref called for the doctors to come into the cage 15 seconds after I just dropped him. On one leg.”

Chandler confirmed his desire to fight on despite a clear injury and cageside doctors saying otherwise, detailing how he told all three officiating the fight that his ankle would need to be broken to justify calling off a championship bout of such magnitude:

“You heard me, I said, I looked at three doctors in the eye and said, ‘This thing better be broken. f you’re going to stop this fight in front of all of these people, with all the hard work I’ve put in, with all this on the line, and that belt, this thing better be broken.”

His warrior spirit and will to fight on wasn’t in question, however, as it more of his health that appeared on the line at the time. Chandler proved he wasn’t denying the obvious fact his foot was seriously hurt, stating that most who watched the bout would have said it was doubtful he still should have been in a fight:

“If you lined up 100 people right now and said ‘Hey, watch this clip, is that man right there fit to fight,’ 90 percent of them would say ‘No, he was stumbling all over the place.’”

USATSI 10130093 168382968 lowres
Photo by Ed Mulholland for USA TODAY Sports

Even though he’s willing to acknowledge the injury though, Chandler apparently still has a bone to pick with the NYSAC – something that has become a given during the state’s extremely controversial track record during the rough-and-tumble first eight months of them regulating professional MMA cards. The former champion cited those instances along with his as a reason he isn’t exactly hoping to fight in New York again soon:

“New York is a cool city, but I don’t want to fight here ever again,” Chandler said. “It’s a little bit amateur hour, man. It’s different. They don’t know what they’re doing in MMA as much as they should. We’ve had five fight cards and every single one of them has been some crazy controversy going on.”

As for the new champ, Chandler put it in plain terms when he said he thinks he would have finished Primus cut-and-dry if an injury didn’t take him out of the fight, so his new foil should enjoy his fake belt while he can:

“I would have finished him,” Chandler said. “If this was the 18th century, and we were in the middle of a field, and it was me and Brent Primus, and I had one leg to stand on, I win that fight 100 times out of 100. That’s the funny thing.

“I’m still the champion. Let’s be honest. An injury took me out of the fight. Brent Primus can wear his Hugh Hefner jacket and wear that fake belt around his shoulder.”