Thursday, December 8, 2022

Michael Chandler Provides Full Response To Cheating Accusations

UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has provided a firm defense following accusations of cheating in his fight against Dustin Poirier.

This past weekend at UFC 281, Chandler continued his trend of being in nothing but wars inside the Octagon. Having previously thrown down with Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje in memorable scraps, the former Bellator titleholder’s latest showing came opposite Poirier.

As most had predicted, the fight was a high-paced and entertaining affair, with “Iron” appearing to continue his decision to favor fan-favorite matchups over a simpler path to victory, which he reverted back to in round two after being dropped by “The Diamond.”

Ultimately, however, it was Chandler’s attempted to utilize his wrestling credentials that led to his downfall, with Poirier reversing position from a takedown and locking in a rear-naked choke for the late submission win.

While the pair unsurprisingly took home Fight of the Night honors, it wasn’t just the enthralling nature of the contest that had fans, fighters, and pundits talking following the Madison Square Garden-held event.

Chandler caused controversy on more than one occasion during the bout for what many branded “cheating” and Poirier himself dubbing “dirty.” As well as ground shots deemed by some to have been to the back of Poirier’s head, the #5-ranked contender also came under scrutiny for an apparent fishhook and a rather bloody tactic from top position.

Now, “Iron” has sought to clear his name.

During an appearance on the Bussin’ With The Boys podcast, Chandler addressed each incident, starting with the one that seemingly saw him blowing blood onto Poirier’s face from his nose.

“All three of those things you brought up are a bit unfair for the armchair quarterback to say… The blood thing, first of all, that’s not dirty or illegal. And second of all, he had me in a triangle, my head was over his face, and my nose was gushing blood,” Chandler said. “Was I trying to clear my nose, trying to breath, and trying to survive? Yeah. So if blood was gonna get on his face, sorry, my bad.

“It’s kind of like, ‘Well, hey, if you’re content to lay there and you’re content to try to get this submission… buying time, you’re gonna get rained on,'” Chandler continued. “It was just gushing and all coagulating inside there. And also, I’m trying to breath at the same time.”

Next, Chandler looked to explain claims that he deliberately struck the back of Poirier’s head with his ground-and-pound. While he noted that one or two may have strayed to the illegal zone, he insisted that was only because the Louisianan turned his head.

According to the former three-time Bellator champ, one or two shots are permitted should an opponent deliberately turn their head to draw the foul.

“The back of the head thing, did one or two of those punches catch his head? Yes, after he turned his head, but I was catching his ear with every single one of them,” Chandler asserted. “That’s why the referee was there watching the entire time. He said, ‘Watch the back of the head.’ As soon as he did, I said, ‘I caught the back of his ear.’

“After that, was there anymore punches to the back of the head? No. All of them were clean, except for maybe one or two when he turned his head… We’re told if a guy turns his head in order for you to punch him in the back of the head, you get those one or two shots because you didn’t do it intentionally,” Chandler added.

Chandler: “It Was Not A Fishhook”

Perhaps the most serious of the accusations surrounded an alleged fishhook on the ground.

During an exchange close to the fence, Chandler had Poirier’s back and was searching for a rear-naked choke. But while attempting the submission, it appeared that Chandler put his hand in Poirier’s mouth in order to pull his head up and sink his arm under the chin.

While his defense was initially that the move wasn’t a fishhook, Chandler went on to claim that he’d grabbed Poirier’s mouthpiece having mistaken it for the former interim champ’s chin.

“The fishhook thing, it was not a fishhook,” Chandler said. “A fishhook is on the lip and on the skin. It was actually on his mouthpiece, which I actually thought was his chin. I reached down and grabbed there because I was gonna pull the chin up. I was training it a ton that week — reach down, grab the chin, lift the head, and go for it.

“I thought I had his chin, but turns out, I was in his mouth and didn’t realize until he bit down on my hand, and I was like, ‘Oh shoot, okay.’ … People can watch it and watch stuff in slow-mo and go, ‘I can’t believe he did that!’ When you’re on the line or you’re making a tackle, you don’t know where your hands were, where your feet were, what you’re grabbing; you’re in the moment, the motion, literal hand-to-hand combat,” Chandler added.

Ultimately, Chandler concluded by insisting that he isn’t and never has been a “dirty” fighter, putting the incidents at UFC 281 down to the heat of the moment.

“People who know me, know I’m not a dirty fighter,” Chandler insisted. “We’re in the heat of combat, it’s whatever.”

What do you make of Michael Chandler’s response?

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