Michael Chandler tried to claim his fish hooking attempt wasn’t fish hooking because he wasn’t grabbing the cheek

Michael Chandler is the gift that keeps on giving. Chandler is fresh from his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 and is apparently having a hard time coping with those MMA fans who are aware of all the ‘dirty’ tactics he used to try and get one up on Poirier at the event.

Chandler started off strong in round 1 – no dirty moves needed. But had lost the momentum mid way through round 2 after Poirier woke up and starting battering him.

In round 2, Chandler would try and play it according to plan, landing an early takedown on Poirier and trying to win on the ground.

But having spent much of the round on Poirier’s back, he was no closer to finishing him. At this point Chandler utilized a move that’s referred to as fish hooking. Fish hooking is an egregious foul in MMA and it has been banned in UFC even while the promotion was allowing for eye gouges and groin strikes.

Chandler made an attempt to lift the head of Poirier, but once he realized Poirier’s chin was tucked in tight, he had no choice but to go to the next available orfice. At this point he had started grabbing Poirier’s mouth guard – according to his own account.

Chandler told ESPN:

“Yes, my hand went into his mouth because I drilled. I drilled reaching down, grabbing the chin, grabbing the chin, lifting it up and going for the rear naked choke about a thousand times.”

“So when I reached down there and grabbed the top of his mouthpiece, which I now realize it was, or grabbing his mouthpiece obviously is the same shape as the chin in my mind. Mind body connection going off of muscle memory official is the lip. If you saw me ripping his lip and his skin. Yeah, that’s official. But me grabbing his mandible, if you will, or grabbing his jaw.”

“I mean, do I need to apologize for it? Not necessarily. You’re in the heat of the moment, and the referee is there to protect both fighters. But I will, if people want me to apologize. I’m sorry. I’m not a cheater. I love the sport. Too much to cheat. I’ve never cheated in my entire life. Yeah, people can call me a dirty fighter if they want, but that’s about 1% of the population out there.”

This is different from what he said right after the event. At the presser Chandler told MMA media:

“I will admit, yes, his mouth was open and my hand went inside of there. It was on his mouthpiece. He bit down. I was trying to pull it out. He didn’t.”

“It wasn’t as though I was trying to pull it out and he was biting it and I couldn’t get it out. It was more just the angle. I mean, you’re getting pushed up against the cage. I mean, it’s just and then there was I mean, I think that was all.”