Some fans believed Michael Chandler would never sign with the UFC due to its strict drug testing program with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), with Chandler’s main detractors accusing the former three-time Bellator lightweight champion of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Now that he’s signed with the UFC, however, Chandler can’t wait to join USADA’s drug testing pool and get tested ASAP. This, Chandler feels, would silence the keyboard warriors in a heartbeat.
“Here I am now taking a fight, October 24 possibly, which is 11 weeks removed from my previous fight [against Benson Henderson],” Chandler told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA). “So it wasn’t like I’m coming into the UFC and saying, ‘hey guys, I need a year. Give me a year before I step into the cage.’ No, test me now. Test me ASAP. So I don’t need time. I’m excited about that. To lay that to rest, I’m excited to be a year clean, two years, three years, four years — you’re not going to hear me say anything about it.
“I’m just going to quietly, silently continue to do my hard work, supplement correctly, live a champion lifestyle and expand people’s minds about what the human body is capable of. I realized long ago I was put into this sport to expand people’s view of the human condition, the human spirit, what the human body is capable of.”
“Now you got to remember, this is Joe Schmo who is a car mechanic telling me I’m on PEDs because he lifts two days a week at 24 Hour Fitness. Well, listen Joe. I’ve been doing this for two decades now, training twice a day, 360 days a year, having access to world class healthcare, opportunities, science because my body has been my vehicle, my vessel in which I feed my family. So if I look a certain way, it’s because of hard work. The great thing is I get to prove that now. I am very, very happy that the UFC implemented USADA and as soon as they did, I’ve been chomping at the bit and I said I can’t wait to get into that testing pool and here we are.”
As Chandler alluded to in the interview, the 34-year-old will serve as a backup for the upcoming title unification bout between reigning lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Chandler was offered a co-headlining spot opposite Dustin Poirier but ‘The Diamond’ reportedly turned the bout down due to ‘loyalty’ to Tony Ferguson.
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje will take next month, Oct. 24 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
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