Michael Chandler will not receive a COVID-19 vaccine, endangering a fight in New York with Justin Gaethje.
UFC 268 is scheduled to take place on November 6. Headlining will be a rematch between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. In December 2019, the two had an instant classic which was won by Usman via TKO in the fifth round.
A slight tilt between Chandler and Gaethje has been agreed for the map but there is a problem. Madison Square Garden in New York has been flagged as a potential landing point for UFC 268. New York State recently implemented a proof of vaccination warrant for indoor activities, including restaurants and premises.
This would mean that all UFC staff and fighters would need their vaccination cards to enter the MSG. That doesn’t suit many, including Chandler, who made it clear on Twitter that he will not be vaccinated.
” I do not want it. FDA approval or not. Real enough for you? I have no problem with people getting it. We all have a choice… it’s mine.
Initially, Michael Chandler said the delay was that the COVID-19 vaccination was not approved by the FDA. Here’s what he once told his fans during a live stream on Instagram (h / t MMAJunkie).
“It’s not that I’m anti-vax. It’s not that I don’t believe in the vaccine, necessarily. I will not get the vaccine until it is 100% approved by the FDA. We’ve had hundreds of clinical trials, just like we’ve had the vaccines my son got – measles and chickenpox and all the vaccines that have been around for 100 years and have been proven to work. We will see. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“More than anything, the chances that the UFC could sell Madison Square Garden with only people vaccinated really reduce their ability to sell Madison Square Garden. So I don’t really know. I think that calls into question whether Madison Square Garden is actually going to happen, to be honest with you guys. The UFC is brilliant and geniuses at putting things together and organizing their fights. But like I said, I’m not anti-vaccine. I think vaccines are effective. I think it’s up to everyone to choose if they want to be vaccinated. I won’t be vaccinated by November 6, so I won’t be able to perform or entertain at Madison Square Garden. So we’ll see. “
It’s clear that despite the recent FDA approval of the vaccine, Chandler is still not considering taking it. It will be interesting to see whether or not the UFC will focus on other locations for its November pay-per-view.