Michael Chandler refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine even after the promotion booked him for the upcoming UFC 268 pay-per-view (PPV) event, where “Iron” will battle fellow lightweight action fighter Justin Gaethje on Nov. 6 in New York.
“I thought he was just seeking attention,” Gaethje told UFC Unfiltered (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “At the end of the day, that’s private information, for one. Like, you don’t even need to talk about that because Dana White is going to handle it.”
New York instituted a vaccine mandate for all public gatherings; however, Chandler and Co. fell into a loophole for visiting athletes and other out-of-state performers, permitting the fight to go forward as scheduled, under the existing safety protocols.
Though Chandler may wish it hadn’t based on Gaethje’s assessment.
“He says the first one to take a step back is a timid soul,” Gaethje continued. “I will take a step backwards. He can shove it up his ass. When you’re going to see a timid soul is when I start kicking him and he’s going to start shooting for legs and trying to wrestle, and that would be his definition of a bitch, 100 percent. And that’s what we’ll see. I think that’s midway through the first round.”
The winner of Chandler vs. Gaethje will likely fight for the lightweight title against either Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier, depending on the outcome of their upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) title fight this December in Las Vegas.