Brent Primus doesn’t expect rival Michael Chandler to join UFC: ‘He doesn’t want to mess around with USADA’

Brent Primus | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

If free agent Michael Chandler decides to return to Bellator, it sounds like his old rival Brent Primus is ready to give him a less-than-warm welcome back.

Primus appeared on a recent episode of What the Heck and answered several questions about his longtime rival, including where he thinks Chandler may wind up next. The history between the two dates back to June 2017, when Primus won the Bellator lightweight title via TKO due to a Chandler leg injury. Eighteen months later, Chandler reclaimed the belt with a unanimous decision win at Bellator 212.

In his most recent fight, Chandler finished former UFC champion Benson Henderson in what was the final bout on Chandler’s current contract. Primus was paying close attention to the fight, as well as the possibility that Chandler may move to another promotion. Primus expects that promotion to be ONE Championship, and if that’s not where Chandler goes, that he’ll stay with the promotion he’s called home for the last 10 years.

“I honestly don’t see him going to the UFC,” Primus said. “I see maybe ONE, but I want him to stay. I want him to stick around and I want that third fight. I know I could have done better in our second fight, and I still have been killing myself over it. But yeah, I want that trilogy fight for sure.”

It’s not just the possibility of a trilogy fight that Primus sees as a reason for Chandler to stick around. Rather, he believes that Chandler will have issues with the USADA, the UFC’s official drug testing partner, and that he’d have to make changes that could potentially harm his performance inside the octagon.

“I honestly think that he just doesn’t want to mess around with USADA,” Primus said. “I’m not gonna say, ‘Oh, I think he’s on steroids,’ but I really wouldn’t doubt if he is. I just don’t think he wants to deal with USADA. If he does go to the UFC, then he’s gonna have to definitely be straight and not be taking EPO or whatever all the crap that people think he’s on. His performance will drop like crazy if he goes to the UFC and he’s not taking what he’s normally taking in Bellator. So I don’t see him doing that.

“I think he’s at the end of his career kind of and I don’t think he wants to go get off whatever he’s taking or take a chance, or maybe not, just take chance of getting whupped on in the UFC. I think he’s gonna stick with Bellator or ONE, but we’ll see.”

Chandler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the former champ previously has addressed steroid accusations head on. Current lightweight champion Patricio Freire has also claimed that Chandler is on performance-enhancing drugs, as have countless strangers on the internet who don’t believe he passes the eye test.

“There’s also a ton of people out there who whenever it’s posed the question, ‘Who should Michael Chandler fight in the UFC first?’ They say, ‘Michael Chandler would lose to USADA by first-round knockout,’” Chandler said during a recent appearance on What the Heck. “So there’s a ton of people out there still who think I’m not clean, they think I’m using drugs, they think I’m using PEDs. They think I wouldn’t pass USADA. It’s almost as if I want to just sign with the UFC just so I can shut those people up. I want people to see, I want the lens at which they look at the human spirit through to be optimized. To realize that the human body, the human spirit, the human condition was created for so much more than we give it credit for. And I’ve done nothing but beat this body down and build it back up for the last 20 years.

“So when you’ve got ‘Joe,’ who works a 9-to-5 and he trades stocks and he hits the gym twice a week and he doesn’t like his gains in the gym so he accuses me of using steroids, you can’t compare the two, Joe. You train twice a week. I train 26 times a week. I’m training two, three times a day, six days a week and I’ve been doing it for two decades. It’s one of those things where it’s comical and it’s also exciting because if I did sign with the UFC, six months, one year, two years into the USADA testing pool, people are finally going to be like. ‘Dang man, that dude was clean this whole time. Maybe I am able to accomplish a little bit more than I thought I could.’”

Pressed on the issue, Primus doubled down on his accusations.

“I just think there’s a really good chance that he is, for sure,” Primus said. “I know I’ve heard Patricio and some of those guys say that he is and some other people. If I had to put money on it, I would definitely put money on that he is over that he is not, for sure. … I don’t think he wants to deal with USADA, I’m just gonna say that.”

Primus isn’t giving up on a Chandler trilogy, even if the Bellator original parts ways with the promotion. There is still bad blood between the two (Primus repeatedly refers to Chandler as a “sh*thead”), which Primus says only began after he won their first fight and Chandler gave him zero credit for influencing the outcome of the fight, essentially calling Primus’ victory a fluke.

Down the road, Primus envisions a scenario in which he and Chandler are in the later stages of their career and someone gives them the opportunity to settle the score; otherwise, with two fights left on his contract, Primus also sees himself possibly chasing Chandler to another organization.

“I see myself fighting into my early 40s, or 40s or whatever, and we could just be retired and come out if somebody offered a bunch of money and us have that trilogy fight someday,” Primus said. “I don’t know, but it’s a small world. I think it could happen and I think it could not. If he goes somewhere, maybe I could follow him and chase him. I don’t know, we’ll see.”

As it stands, Primus is in the thick of the Bellator lightweight title picture with first-round submission victories in his past two fights. He’s looking for a step-up in competition and is hoping for a fight with Henderson or if the lightweight title picture shakes out a certain way, perhaps the chance to become a two-time champion.

Currently, the Bellator lightweight belt is held by Patricio Pitbull; however, Pitbull also holds the featherweight belt and is currently scheduled to defend that title against Pedro Carvalho at some point in the future. That leaves the lightweights without a champion to chase, but Primus has been told that Patricio might relinquish the title to give his brother Patricky a shot at it, a scenario that Primus sees himself fitting into perfectly.

“I heard Patricio say that he’ll give it up if they give his brother a shot,” Primus said. “I’m cool with that. Me and Patricky Pitbull should fight for the vacant belt, that sounds good to me. I would love to take that fight and that’s another guy that I was supposed to fight a long time ago in Italy.

“He’s been in Bellator—He’s one of those guys who when I think of Bellator, I think of him. It would be kind of cool to fight him. That sounds good to me, let’s do it. Talk to Scott Coker and Patricio sounded like he was down with it, so give it up and me and Patricky will fight for it.”

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