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Michael Chandler: 'Crybaby' Will Brooks has 'victim mentality'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Michael Chandler is about as straight-laced and easygoing as cage fighters are going to get. Nothing can ramp up his emotions, though, quite like the discussion turning to Will Brooks.

There is no love lost between Chandler and Brooks, who have fought each other twice with Brooks winning both times. The second time, Brooks won the vacant Bellator MMA lightweight title from the former champ last year. Even with no future fight booked, the two go at it on Twitter on a regular basis.

The latest thing bugging Chandler about Brooks? A lengthy Twitter rant Brooks went on following Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 in September. Brooks felt like Bellator was not pushing the old guard (Brooks, light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary and others) as much as the guys brought in by president Scott Coker and matchmaker Rich Chou, who came on board in 2014. Brooks slammed his own promotion -- a rare move by a champion.

Chandler, who has been with Bellator in since 2010 (just one year after the company was founded by Bjorn Rebney), was insulted by the implication that Coker and company were not taking care of the guys who have been there.

"Boo freakin' hoo," Chandler told MMA Fighting. "Whiny Will. Crybaby Brooks. The dude probably isn't getting taken care of because of things that he's saying. I have been with this promotion -- my name is synonymous with the promotion. It doesn't get any older than guys like me. Me, Pat Curran, Daniel Straus, Patricio Pitbull.

"I'm probably getting taken care of better than anybody else. But what do you have to do? You take care of the people who take care of you. You don't hop on Twitter and whine about it. You don't hop on Twitter and bash your promoter. You don't hop on Twitter and bite the hand that's feeding you. If you don't like it, man, go somewhere else. I hope he doesn't, because I want to break his jaw. But the real fact of the matter is I have nothing bad to say about Bellator."

Chandler (13-3) meets David Rickels at Bellator 145 on Friday night in St. Louis, a half hour from where Chandler grew up in High Ridge, Mo. He has already beaten Rickels, via 44-second TKO in July 2013, but Chandler does not mind the matchup. He's willing to do whatever he has to do in order to get back to the title, which he dropped in a very close loss to Eddie Alvarez in November 2013.

In his next two fights after that, Chandler fell to Brooks. The first time around was another extremely close decision. Like the Alvarez defeat, many people felt he won. The second bout, Brooks beat Chandler to win the vacant title via fourth-round TKO. Chandler has said he was injured going into the fight.

Chandler, 29, does not like Brooks. That much is clear. But his focus is not necessarily fighting him. Chandler is absolutely confident he is the best lightweight fighter in the world and he wants the belt back.

"It's not even about the hostility of it," Chandler said. "It's not even about the fact that I dislike him as a person. It's not that I dislike the way he carries himself. I can just go on and on. It's more just about winning. It's more just about getting the title shot, getting what I deserve and going out there and winning the fight. I don't care if it's against Will Brooks, Marcin Held, Dave Jansen, Josh Thomson, Dave Rickels -- any of these guys. The name doesn't matter to me. The person doesn't matter to me."

Brooks defends the belt against Held on Friday. It should be a very interesting night and not just because of a strong card. Brooks has carried on a feud with Patricio Freire, who defends his featherweight belt against Brooks' teammate Daniel Straus on Friday, as well as Chandler. The results of Bellator 145 will undoubtedly lead to some very big fights in the future. Chandler believes Brooks' rivalries are a statement on who he is.

"I have bled for this company," Chandler said. "I have been in the most exciting fights, numerous ones for this company. So, I go out on my shield, I do the right things in the media, I build Bellator up and don't cut it down and I don't bite the hand that feeds me. And whiny Will 'Crybaby' Brooks is freaking out."

Chandler has been a company man and one of the cornerstones for Bellator. Brooks has a chance to be the latter, certainly, with his talent and charisma. A third fight between the two men will almost certainly happen down the road and it will be explosive.

In the meantime, though, Chandler said he'll be focused on whoever is left in front of him -- whether it be three more fights or one more win that leads him to a title shot. "Iron Michael" doesn't really care what Brooks is focused on.

"It's really sad and unfortunate that a champion can be a victim like that and have a victim mentality," Chandler said. "It's real sad. I hope he can't sleep at night, just staying up at night wishing things were better for him."

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