Michael Chandler opens up on canceled Conor McGregor fight: ‘Don’t you dare disrespect me by feeling sorry for me’

Michael Chandler wants to make one thing clear: His spirit is not broken by Conor McGregor pulling out of the UFC 303 main event, and the uncertainty that follows.

After waiting nearly 18 months between fights to be the opponent for McGregor’s (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) long-awaited comeback to the octagon, the opportunity was taken from Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) on less than three weeks’ notice when the former two-division champ withdrew from the June 29 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas due to injury.

There was a period of several days where the status of the contest was up in the air, but then the official word it would not be happening came in, and Chandler revealed it arrived minutes after his final hard sparring session.

“Got the rug pulled out from underneath me at the last possible moment,” Chandler said in a lengthy Instagram video. “I just had got done with my last sparring session Thursday morning. Had been hearing rumblings since Monday, obviously, but really got the call about an hour after my last sparring session was completed. An hour after a celebration.

“Anyone who has trained for a fight or has trained for something, you go through a really hard block and then in order to peak you get toward the very end you don’t go hard anymore as to throw yourself into the fire and take the chance of injuries, over training, bumps, bruises, cuts and all those different things. I had just gotten done with that.”

There was some discussion that the announcement of McGregor vs. Chandler being off of UFC 303 would come with news of a new date. However, that was not the case. UFC CEO Dana White said he is not going to talk about a rebooking until he’s informed of McGregor’s complete recovery, but MMA journalist Ariel Helwani has reported August or September could be in play, though the promotion is having trouble pinpointing a viable date.

Chandler admits there’s a lot of uncertainty, but he doesn’t want sympathy from anyone. He is a man of faith and an unbreakable self-belief, and he will continue to follow that path in life no matter the obstacles that get in his way.

“So what do I do now? A little bit of uncertainty in my life,” Chandler said. “When’s this fight going to happen? What date would it be rebooked for? What venue? How bad is the injury? Reports have come out that it’s not that bad, just needs a little bit of a delay. But still, no guarantees. But I thrive when there are no guarantees. Just a walk-on kid from High Ridge, Mo., who has continued to trod in a forward trajectory no matter what the opposition, no matter what the circumstances, no matter the situation. It’s not up to me to will outcomes into existence. It is up to me to do the work. We let the work talk. We do the work. And we do the work until we become undeniable.

“Don’t you dare disrespect me by feeling sorry for me. Don’t you dare disrespect me by having any kind of sympathy. Be emboldened by my situation. Be emboldened by my steadfastness and my immovability of hitching my dreams to a shooting star and continuing to move forward. If you’ve been on this journey with me for a long time you know how I operate. You know where my mindset is, where my mental is. And it is nowhere near down in the dumps. I am emboldened by this test, and this test ain’t done yet. And this test shall turn into part of my testimony. So we keep moving forward in the face of adversity, with complete disregard to previous failures, previous setbacks, previous things outside of out control, and future opposition.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie