UFC lightweight Michael Chandler has said he does not need to issue an apology for fish-hooking Dustin Poirier during their recent fight.
During the chaos of what was Dustin Poirier Vs. Michael Chandler at UFC 281, a bloodied Chandler would put his fingers in Poirier’s mouth to try and lift his head in order to secure a submission.
Poirier would criticize the 36-year-old for the illegal move, but when talking to Ariel Helwani, Chandler stated that he didn’t need to apologize and waved away the incident, citing it as just a part of fighting.
“People think that we’re in there making decisions like me making the decision to pick up this pen,” Chandler said on TheMMAHour. “It’s not the same when you’re actually inside the confines of MMA and you’re fighting for your life.
“You’re reaching for things, you’re grabbing for things, you’re grappling. A lot of it is muscle memory. When I take a guy’s back, and I’ve drilled it a million times, I take a guy’s back, reach down, grab the chin, lift the chin, and then go for the choke. So yes, do I think I need to apologize? I don’t think I do.
“Do I think it was something that people could say, ‘Hey, that was dirty,’ or ‘that was illegal,’ yes, I could definitely see what you’re saying. But 31 fights, you know my reputation. I’ve got a good reputation in this sport. I love the sport. I don’t cheat the sport. I don’t cheat to win.”
Chandler would continue, saying that it is up to referees to spot and put an end to situations like this in fights.
“This one was just unfortunate circumstances and a chain of events that I wish didn’t happen, but they did, and also, that’s why we have referees there. That’s why the referee was there with his eyeballs on every single exchange to let you know if you’re doing something consciously or subconsciously, on purpose or not on purpose.
“But yeah, it doesn’t feel good [to be called a dirty fighter]. I don’t like to hear that, because, whatever, there are going to be people that say things no matter what, be accused of things win, lose or draw.” (H/T BloodyElbow)