Former UFC lightweight title challenger Michael Chandler has concerns if his fight against Justin Gaethje is held at Madison Square Garden in New York amidst the recent COVID-19 vaccine policies announced by the state government.
Chandler, who is fresh off his UFC lightweight title loss to Charles Oliveira back at UFC 262, is scheduled to battle Gaethje at UFC 268 on Nov. 6. The UFC hasn’t announced an official venue for the bout, but Chandler says he won’t be able to compete in New York due to the state’s recent mandates that require proof of vaccination for indoor entertainment and events.
During a recent Instagram live session on his page, Chandler expressed his reasoning for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine to this point and pointed to the rush of the vaccine by the FDA.
“I just saw that New York is dropping some heavy mandates on the city of New York City,” Chandler said. “If I was to fight on that Nov. 6 card – or whoever is fighting on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden – I don’t know how many fighters will be vaccinated. I don’t really have a tally on who is or isn’t. I will not be vaccinated at that point.”
If Chandler wants another shot at the UFC lightweight belt soon, a win over a former interim champion like Gaethje will catapult him back into the conversation.
Chandler vs. Gaethje will surely be a top contender fight, after Oliveira battle Dustin Poirier at a later date. Gaethje hasn’t competed since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 and a fight with Chandler has been discussed over the past few months.
UFC president Dana White has already said that he won’t require fighters to get vaccinated, so that might mean that UFC 268’s lightweight feature between Gaethje and Chandler could move back to Las Vegas, or another venue such as Texas or Florida.
Regardless, fans can look forward to a massive fight for Chandler and Gaethje, regardless of where the fight ends up taking place.
What are your thoughts on Michael Chandler’s comments regarding the COVID-19 vaccine?