Michael Chandler gives his take on ‘Bittersweet’ Bellator-PFL sale: “They were important to me”

By Josh Evanoff - December 7, 2023

Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is a bit sad to see their recent sale to the PFL.

Michael Chandler and Scott Coker

‘Iron’ is now one of the UFC’s biggest stars and most entertaining fighters. Although, Michael Chandler hasn’t been seen in the cage since a submission loss to Dustin Poirier well over a year ago. Now, the former Bellator champion has been stuck on the sidelines, waiting for a long-awaited fight with Conor McGregor.

That bout with ‘The Notorious’ was expected for 2023 but didn’t end up happening. Michael Chandler coached the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite the Irishman earlier this year. Nonetheless, efforts to nail down a date between the lightweights have proved unsuccessful. As of now, the hope is for the two to finally fight at UFC 300 in April.

One has to wonder if Michael Chandler would’ve ever gotten that fight against Conor McGregor had it not been for his Bellator success. See, while he’s now making a name in the UFC, the Missouri native dominated in the Scott Coker-led company for years. In 2020, he finally made the jump, and it’s worked out for him.

Last month, Bellator was famously sold from Viacom to PFL. While the company will continue to exist, it will have a brand-new look moving forward and will continue without faces such as Coker. In a recent interview with ESPN MMA, Michael Chandler discussed his thoughts on the sale and the bittersweet nature of the business.



“Yeah, it’s bittersweet,” Michael Chandler stated in response to a question asking his thoughts on the recent Bellator sale to the PFL. “… It was a good product, but it was the people behind it is why I wanted to invest and get involved. Bellator as a product, good product. But it was the people behind Bellator that I absolutely loved man… These names, maybe not a lot of people know, but they were important to me.”

Michael Chandler continued, “These were men and women who were a part of my life for a decade. So I’ve had a lot of text messages and phone calls with these people. It was bittersweet, and it will be interesting to see what happens moving forward. But like I said, you’ve got a product, but it was the people behind it. You got Bellator the product,  but it was the people behind it.”

“I wish all them the best, and all the Bellator fighters and all the PFL fighters the best. Ultimately, a rising tide raises all ships. We want to see the sport of mixed martial arts flourish. Obviously, the UFC is and will remain for a long time, the worldwide leader in it. But it’s cool to see what PFL doing what they’re doing, it’s cool to see that merger happen.”

What do you make of these comments from Michael Chandler? Do you agree with his comments about the Bellator-PFL sale? Do you believe they’ll be able to one day catch the UFC?


Bellator Michael Chandler Professional Fighters League (PFL)