UFC lightweight Michael Chandler has denied Justin Gaethje’s claims that he was “seeking attention” with his vaccination comments.
Chandler has certainly been involved in more controversy and back-and-forth with his upcoming opponent than in his first two UFC fights. The former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion made his promotional debut earlier this year at UFC 257. Against the always-tough and entertaining Dan Hooker, Chandler burst onto MMA’s biggest stage in style. A first-round TKO win over the New Zealander saw him immediately break into title contention.
After the retirement of the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov, Chandler then faced UFC veteran Charles Oliveira for the vacant 155-pound belt at UFC 262 in May. Despite coming close to securing victory in the opening round, “Iron” was on the receiving end of an incredible comeback from “Do Bronx.” A second-round defeat saw his title hopes come crashing down for the time being.
With a matchup against former interim champ Justin Gaethje, Chandler has the chance to immediately stake his claim for a second crack at gold. But the blockbuster clash hasn’t always been set in stone. Discussion about whether the state of New York would require fighters to be vaccinated for COVID-19 left Chandler’s third appearance in doubt, especially after the 35-year-old claimed he wouldn’t be getting the vaccine “FDA approval or not.”
In response, Gaethje suggested his upcoming opponent was “seeking attention” by discussing the private matter in the public eye. But during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Chandler suggested that wasn’t the case because he made the comments during a small Instagram Live session.
“The funny thing about the vaccination thing was, I didn’t come out, I didn’t do one story to tell people about it, about the vaccine. I didn’t get on your show and start talking about the vaccine. I was in a private Instagram Live session with a couple thousand people or…