Bellator Icon Michael Chandler Says Making Fans Care Was Company’s Biggest Failing Before PFL Merger

Bellator MMA legend Michael Chandler believes the company’s lack of investment in making fans care about their brand and talent was a major reason behind being forced into a recent merger with rival promotion PFL MMA.

Major news occurred in the mixed martial arts industry last month when the Professional Fighters League announced a landmark deal with rivals Bellator. While it was presented as a merger, it really is the PFL gobbling up the company and using its brand and fighters for its betterment.

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The agreement had been rumored for several months after reports earlier this year revealed that Bellator’s parent company Viacom had put the promotion up for sale. While Bellator has been one of the top MMA companies in the world over the last decade, they were always a distant second to the UFC. And that gap only seemed to widen in recent years.

One fighter who knows a lot about the two companies is former Bellator lightweight king and current UFC star Michael Chandler. He competed in Bellator for 10 years before making the jump to the MMA world leader. Unsurprisingly, his stardom soared when he made the switch to fighting inside the legendary Octagon.

Michael Chandler says Bellator failed at making fight fans care about the product

michael chandler, bellator
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

During a Thursday conversation with Sportsnaut, “Iron” was asked about what went wrong for his former employer and why they could not take that next step to be a serious rival to the UFC. And in his mind, it comes down to a lack of the kind of investment needed to make fight fans care.

“The biggest thing is you have to make constant investments in your company,” Chandler said. “If you believe in your company you have to continue to make investments every single day. It doesn’t have to be money, but it has to be time, energy, resources, whatever it may be. The UFC is the No. 1 fight promotion on the planet, and they will be, probably, forever. Because all they do is reinvest a ton of money every single year, every single week into all of these fights. They are trying to build a huge brand.

“… What these other organizations need to do is invest money in making us care. Invest money in making us follow the storylines. Invest money in making us believe that the fighters you have are some of the best in the world,” he continued, “That’s what the UFC does really well.”

Chandler recently made a major investment of his own this week in a new partnership with Hiatus Tequila. He is still waiting on an official date for his long-awaited matchup with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

After earning his journalism degree in 2017, Jason Burgos served as a contributor to several sites, including MMA Sucka... More about Jason Burgos

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