UFC 268 is scheduled to take place on Nov. 6. The headliner will be a rematch between UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Back in Dec. 2019, the two had an instant classic that was won by Usman via fifth-round TKO.
A lightweight tilt between Chandler and Gaethje has been agreed to for the card but there’s a problem. Madison Square Garden in NYC has been reported as a potential landing spot for UFC 268. The state of New York recently implemented a proof of vaccine mandate for indoor activities including restaurants and venues.
This would mean all UFC staffers and fighters would need their vaccination cards to enter MSG. This doesn’t sit well with many, including Chandler, who made it clear on Twitter that he will not be getting vaccinated.
“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.”
Initially, Michael Chandler said the holdup was that the COVID-19 vaccination wasn’t FDA-approved. Here’s what he previously told his fans during an Instagram live stream (h/t MMAJunkie).
“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. We’ve had hundreds of clinical trials, just like we had the vaccines that my son has had – measles and chicken pox 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. 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.”
It’s clear that despite the FDA recently approving the vaccine, Chandler still doesn’t plan on taking it. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the UFC will focus on other locations for their November pay-per-view.