Ex-Champ Michael Chandler Reveals Real Difference Maker Between Bellator & UFC: “There’s a Travel Department That’s Bigger Than the Entire Bellator”

Published 01/31/2023, 12:45 PM EST

Fighters moving from Bellator to UFC are not as common as the other way around. While there have been a few prominent names that have moved from the Scott Coker-led promotion to the UFC, one name that has been significantly more prominent than the others is Michael Chandler. The 36-year-old former Bellator champ has made quite a name for himself owing to some thrilling performances inside the octagon. Now ranked number 5 in the lightweight division, Chandler recently opened up on the UFC business model. In an appearance on Michael Bisping’s podcast, he made a comparison between UFC and his former company, revealing a few surprising facts for the fans. Chandler had high praise for the UFC, even comparing it to a Fortune 500 company in the way it functioned.

Michael Chandler on the UFC business model and how it is different from Bellator

The 35-year-old jump shipped to the UFC in September 2020 after spending almost a decade in Bellator. Naturally, he very clearly understands the difference between the two promotions. On a question raised by Bisping on what difference Chandler experienced fighting for the two companies, the Lightweight responded: “The level of recognition is just absolutely astronomical compared to Bellator.” The statement couldn’t have been better put as Chandler has become quite a popular fighter since his first-round KO of Dan Hooker at UFC 257. His fight style has also no doubt contributed to his stardom as a fighter.


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via Imago

Chandler noted in his comparisons that the most striking feature of the UFC is the way it is run.

“From a business side of thing or an organization side of things. I mean the UFC is run like a true Sports organization; Fortune 500 company. Not a skeleton crew where one guy is handling Medicals and travel and he’s fighter operations,” claimed Chandler.

Following that, the 35-year-old made a surprising statement that pretty much revealed the huge gap between UFC and Bellator.

“There’s a travel department that’s bigger than the entire Bellator staff in the US. PR Department that’s bigger than the entire Bellator staff.” Chandler then continued, stating that the difference was just in the way the business was running. “That’s nothing against them. It’s just that’s the way that they run their business. For me, it was time to go test the waters. And it’s worked out pretty darn well so far you know.” expressed the former Bellator champ.

Chandler recalls his days in Bellator FC

While he continued pointing out how huge the UFC has been for his popularity, Chandler recalled his post-fight interviews at Bellator. He used his experience to argue how the UFC was the leading show in the business.


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“I’d show up to my fight and they’re sending like the second string and third string media people from MMA junkie. I’m like, oh where’s Ariel? Hey where’s this guy and where’s ‘oh they’re at the UFC event you know …while there’s you know someone else at the Bellator fights and these were bigger fights.” exclaimed Chandler.

Quite a revelation from Chandler, revealing the huge monopoly UFC has in the world of combat sports.


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Michael Chandler, just like in the UFC, was also quite a popular figure back in Bellator. As a former champion, it must have been disheartening not to get the recognition he deserved. Fortunately, Dana White‘s signing of Chandler meant that fighters as well as fans got the best deal possible. With the fights that he has put up, it’s no surprise Chandler is receiving the appreciation he so long desired.



Pragjyoti Singh

302 articles

Pragjyoti is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He is extremely passionate about MMA and has a good understanding of the sport and its technicalities. Having trained in the sport along with a passion for journalism, it has helped him develop a keen interest in the UFC and anything related to the promotion.

Edited By: Vineet Nandwana