Michael Chandler is set to jump into the political fray.
The UFC fighter and former Bellator lightweight champion is scheduled to speak at an upcoming “Americafest 2021” event alongside conservative firebrands such as Tucker Carlson, Candace Owens, and Donald Trump Jr.. The event will also feature the likes of Jack Posobiec, a correspondent for One America News Network (OANN) who has ties to far-right extremists.
The event is hosted by Turning Point USA, a right-wing youth group that advocates for conservative values on high school, college, and university campuses. Founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012, the group has become a dominant force in campus conservatism and enjoyed support from former President Donald Trump and funding from a range of Republican politicians.
While Kirk maintains that TPUSA does not maintain ties with alt-right groups, the organization has organized campus visits by former Breitbart editor and far-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos to the University of Colorado Boulder and Miami University in 2017. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch has also documented TPUSA’s links to white supremacist in a series of reports.
Most recently, TPUSA propagated false claims about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and protested against campus requirements for student vaccinations.
Despite TPUSA’s list of controversies, the organization’s upcoming event, which is scheduled to take place between Dec. 18-21 in Phoenix, Arizona, will also feature U.S. politicians such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Madison Cawthorn.
Chandler first made his political leaning clear when he questioned the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, tweeting at the time “Is Joe Biden really just taking the mic to talk about how ‘patient’ we have to be and how ‘long’ we are going to have to wait AKA we are going to contest these results…hard #wakeupsheep.” He deleted the tweet shortly thereafter.
The former Bellator champion later claimed he was waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine to be “100 percent FDA approved” before taking it. However, once the vaccines were approved by the FDA in September 2021, Chandler changed his mind, stating “I don’t want it. FDA approval or not. Real enough for you?”