Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight contender, Michael Chandler, won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Justin Gaethje vs. Chandler is being targeted for UFC 268, which is tentatively taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 6, 2021, streaming online via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). News of New York’s vaccine requirements for indoor activities previously jeopardized the card. And Chandler (22-6) previously said lack of FDA approval was a big reason he was not yet vaccinated.
News of the FDA approval had fans hopeful that Gaethje vs. Chandler could press forward; however, “Iron” Mike revealed on Monday that he still has no immediate plans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I don’t want it. FDA approval or not. Real enough for you? I have no problem with people getting it. We all have a choice,” he replied to a fan on Twitter. “This is mine.”
I don’t want it. FDA approval or not. Real enough for you? I have no problem with people getting it. We all have a choice...this is mine.— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) August 23, 2021
Chandler previously explained on Instagram Live how FDA approval would play a role in his vaccination status.
“It’s not that I’m anti-vax. It’s not that I don’t believe in the vaccine, necessarily. I’m just not going to get the vaccine until it’s 100 percent FDA approved,” he explained (h/t MMA Junkie). “We’ve had hundreds of clinical trials, just like we had the vaccines that my son has had – measles and chickenpox and all of the vaccines that have been around for 100 years that have been proven. We shall see. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“More than anything, the chances of the UFC being able to sell out Madison Square Garden with only people that are vaccinated really cuts down their ability to sell out Madison Square Garden,” Chandler continued. “So I don’t really know. I think it calls into question if Madison Square Garden will actually happen, to be honest with you guys. The UFC is brilliant and geniuses at putting things together and putting their fights together. But as I said, I’m not anti-vaccine. I think vaccines are effective. I think it’s everybody’s choice whether they want to take the vaccine. I won’t be vaccinated by Nov. 6, so I won’t be able to perform or entertain at Madison Square Garden. So we shall see.”
UFC 268 is expected to be headlined by a UFC Welterweight title rematching pitting Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington.
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