Bellator 131: Will Brooks Believes Pressure Could be on Michael Chandler as a Result of Post Fight Comments
By Kelsey Mowatt
Michael Chandler has widely been considered one of Bellator’s top fighters for some time now, but as he gets set to fight Will Brooks on November 15th, the former lightweight champ is in uncharted waters.
Last November, Chandler was defeated for the first time in his pro career, when he lost the lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez via split decision. Then, this past May, Chandler was handed another split decision loss by Brooks, who laid claim to the interim title in the process. Although both fights were extremely competitive and entertaining, a third straight loss for Chandler at Bellator 131, would be a considerable setback.
“You know what? Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t really looked at it that way,” Brooks said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked if Chandler could be under more pressure heading into their rematch. “I think he’s taken two straight losses and that’s definitely hard on anyone’s career. Especially since he’s been one of these guys who’s expected to go out and blow right through people…”
“As far as pressure, or him feeling pressure to perform, that might be something that he’s feeling right now,” furthered Brooks, who stepped in to fight Chandler after Alvarez withdrew from Bellator 120 with a concussion. “I don’t concern myself with that. If he puts pressure on himself then that’s his problem. For me, I’m going to go out there and continue to do what I did the last time. I’m going to go out there and have fun.”
After Brooks scored the upset win in May, Chandler alluded to the fact that he was not completely healthy going into the fight. Not long after, the former champ’s camp relayed that Chandler was dealing with back issues heading into the bout.
“You know, he said a lot of different things; he put himself in this position if he is feeling a little bit of pressure to perform, because he wasn’t able to go out after this fight, and open his mouth and say, ‘you know what, Will Brooks beat me that night’ or whatever you know, even if you disagree with it, he could have been a little more professional with it…,” said Brooks. “Pulling out the ‘oh, I wasn’t the 100%’ bit, ‘I was unhealthy, I was this and that.”
Even after Brooks secured the interim title it wasn’t clear whether he would face Alvarez next, as Bellator’s now former president Bjorn Rebney, revealed the champ had the contractual right to fight Chandler again. Alvarez ended up departing for the UFC, however, and as a result, Brooks and Chandler will settle their differences on November 15th.
“If you’re a true fighter, if you’re a true warrior, there’s no excuses, even if you do have a legitimate excuse, I feel like that’s not the right time to pull that out. That’s not the right time to say things like that,” Brooks added. “I think you move forward…but he chose to go a different route. So he’s put that in other people’s minds that it just wasn’t the Michael Chandler that people were used to seeing, and he was injured, and he had this and that. So I guess he’s put himself in a position where the fans and the people around him are going to put pressure on him.”
Bellator 131 will be hosted by the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.
Stayed tuned to Full Contact Fighter for a follow up article featuring Brooks and his thoughts on the upcoming fight.