Recently, Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler signed a new eight fight contract with the promotion. He is www.Sherdog.com’s breakout star of the year (2011) and his bout with Eddie Alvarez won him Yahoo’s fight of the year. Though much the the MMA community wanted to see him in the UFC, Bjorn Rebney has assured us that this new contract makes him one of the highest paid lightweights in MMA. Chandler’s deal is simply that he fights as often as he possibly can for the promotion, every season of Bellator if possible. Also, Michael is to become the face fighter of the organization, allowing himself to be involved in heavy marketing for the promotion and parent company Viacom.
This is a smart move by Bellator since Michael Chandler is an extremely marketable fighter with a very exciting style. He has been dominant in his fights, and is preparing for his second title defense at Bellator 97, against David Rickels. Bjorn Rebney feels that Bellator has the best lightweight in the world, and you would have an argument on your hands proving he isn’t at least top 5. Bjorn said “I’ve felt very strongly for the last year or more that I think we have the best lightweight in MMA in Bellator. His name is Michael Chandler. Look, Michael, both inside and outside the cage, represents this company and MMA in a great light. He had a long time left on his existing deal, but I just felt like, you know what, he’s elevated himself to a completely new level. I’m to reward what he’s done and make sure Mike is part of the Bellator family for a lot of years.”
Come the 31st of this month, we will get to see Chandler perform again. Hopefully his career blooms and contributes to the Bellator organization. This would give MMA fighters around the world the viable option of fighting somewhere other than the UFC for a living.