clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Gaethje got the same amount of ‘Dana White privilege’ as me, says Michael Chandler

The recent lightweight title challenger feels both he and Gaethje were absolutely deserving of the fast-tracking they got from the UFC after all their success outside the promotion.

Michael Chandler poses ahead of his bout against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262
Michael Chandler poses ahead of his bout against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Michael Chandler’s path to UFC title contender status couldn’t have been much shorter. The multiple-time king of the Bellator lightweight division needed just one win – a two-minute & 30-second TKO over Dan Hooker in his debut – to get his first shot at UFC gold. And while a career full of five round fights and remarkable success made the short jump to the top feel reasonably deserved, the decision didn’t come without some notable criticism.

Most memorably, fellow top contender Tony Ferguson coined the phrase “Dana White Privilege” to describe his dissatisfaction with seeing Chandler get an instant shot at fame in the promotion where he once put together 12-straight victories without ever getting to compete for the unified lightweight title.

And although Dana White may be quick to dismiss the idea that he’s playing favorites, ‘Iron’ Mike seems more than happy to lean into the idea. To his mind, both he and Gaethje have benefited from a little extra UFC love—which they both earned by distinguishing themselves outside the Octagon. Chandler recently spoke to MMA Fighting about his upcoming bout with Gaethje at UFC 268 this Saturday, November 6th.

“Justin Gaethje got the same amount of preferential treatment. The same amount of ‘Dana White Privilege’. Whatever you want to call it,” Chandler admitted. “He came from outside the UFC, came in, got a top five guy right away. If he would have beat Eddie Alvarez, he would have gotten a title shot. He lost to Eddie Alvarez, which made him go fight a couple more fights. He’s been in some big commercials. He’s been in big fights. He’s headlined cards. He and I have had very similar roads. I think he deserved it because he earned it. He probably in his heart of hearts believes that I deserved it and earned it but he needs to convince himself that I am seeking attention or I’m an attention seeker and I’m a fake and a phony and whatever things he has said.

“More than anything, a guy who doesn’t deserve the treatment that I’ve gotten thus far but you’ll find the older you get and the longer you do things, those who ask and those who say yes to opportunities, usually end up making it further than those that don’t or those that fight the powers that be. I’m not here to fight the powers that be. I’m here to fight the guys that they put me up against and Justin Gaethje’s the next one. Whether he loves me, whether he hates me, I know he respects me.”

Chandler would seem to be responding to Gaethje’s comments that the Sanford MMA fighter was “seeking attention” with his anti-vaccine comments, which seemed to put their upcoming bout in jeopardy. Otherwise, however, both men sound entirely pumped up to be fighting one another.

“Only thing we can guarantee,” Chandler enthused, “there will be violence. It will be exciting. Everyone in Madison Square Garden will be the beneficiary and everyone that buys the pay-per-view will be the beneficiary and we both get bonuses. That’s for sure.”