UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has never been shy about his devout Christian faith. However, he acknowledges that there can be a conflict between being an MMA star and living out his faith. In a recent podcast, Chandler addressed questions from fans about whether violence and MMA are at odds with Christianity.
“I think if I was walking down the street and needed to get violent to protect somebody, that’s some beautiful violence,” Chandler said. “If I am completely operating within my gifts inside the confines of the unified rules of MMA, I think that violence is beautiful.”
He argued that violence in the context of MMA is more sport than malicious intent to harm. As a self-proclaimed “salty Christian” who doesn’t always fit the stereotype of a meek believer, Chandler says his goal is to win people to Christ, even if his methods are unorthodox.
“If all the Christians were skinny little beta males, little afraid to hurt feelings, the Christian faith dies within a decade,” Chandler asserted. “We need dudes that are a little bit salty, a little bit on the fringe.”
When asked directly if he thinks God supports MMA, Chandler pointed to Bible verses that say God hates violence. However, he contends that the violence in regulated MMA is not the harmful kind that Scripture warns against.
Ultimately, Chandler is striving to leverage his platform as an MMA star to positively impact lives. He acknowledges he’s not a perfect Christian, but relies on God’s grace daily. And he believes he can reach more people for Christ as a “tough guy” MMA fighter than he could in any other career path.
“Who are we to ever judge somebody’s passion?” Chandler said. “I believe I can win more people for Christ than that type of person can.”
Though views may differ on whether MMA itself aligns with Christianity, Chandler is determined to live out his faith to the utmost while competing inside the Octagon. His goal is to dismantle stereotypes people may have about what a devout Christian looks like.