The legacy of Conor McGregor will be stained forever if he doesn’t return to fight Michael Chandler this year.
That’s according to Chandler who is still waiting on an official date for his fight with the Irishman. The pair were coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 31 which debuts May 30 on ESPN and ESPN+.
With the finale set to air August 15, it was expected that Chandler and McGregor would fight around that timeframe. However, McGregor is still yet to enter the USADA drug testing pool which requires him to submit drug tests for a period of six months before being eligible to compete again.
With McGregor appearing at the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight and most recently, at Bare Knuckle FC, he’s certainly keeping busy. But the longer he prolongs returning to the testing pool, the higher the risk of the Chandler fight being further delayed or even called off altogether.
As far as Chandler is concerned, he believes the fight will still happen at some point. But if it doesn’t, he feels McGregor’s legacy will take a massive hit.
“I think he’s coming back,” Chandler told ESPN (via MMA Junkie). “It sure would be a huge stain on his legacy, leading everybody down a road, making people think that he’s coming back, and then kind of chickening out at the very end and only doing it for the publicity. That, to me, screams insecurity, and he’s trying to stay relevant rather than seeing through your commitment.
“I could be very wrong about it, and if I am, I would be surprised and, quite frankly, disappointed, but also, I’m not going to sit here blowing up my manager, blowing up Dana (White) and Hunter (Campbell), just calling them all the time, ‘Hey, when are we getting something done?’”
McGregor previously claimed he would just require two clean tests in order to compete — something USADA would later refute.
Of course, the UFC could always make an exception to the six-month rule and Chandler would be okay with it as well — he just wants an answer at this point.
“I could see it very well being just two clean tests,” Chandler added. “I have no problem with it being two clean tests. I could care less. If you do two clean tests, sounds to me like you’re clean. At this point, who am I to say what the stipulations are? I’m ready for him to be cleared or at least get that answer. At this point, we don’t have an answer.”