Aaron Chalmers is a controversial figure within the sport of mixed martial arts. He has polarized opinions, but he continues to prove his doubters wrong by defeating each opponent that is put in front of him. After three consecutive finishes, Aaron “The Joker” Chalmers steps up in competition, as he faces Ash Griffiths on the main card of Bellator 200.
How does it feel to be apart of the historic Bellator 200 card at the SSE Arena in London?
“Mate, its literally surreal because this time last year, last weekend, I made my debut, so fast forward a year if someone had of said that I would be on the main card of Bellator, I would have said F–k off. It’s been an absolute whirlwind of a year, but like I say, they offered me it so I had to grab it with both hands, so here we are”
How much do you know about your opponent at Bellator 200, Ash Griffiths?
“I know that he’s a K1 champion or he was a K1 champion. He’s very experienced and he’s well rounded which is what I wanted. I wanted a step up, I didn’t want to fight f–king debutants. He’s been through the wars, he’s been rounds upon rounds, he’s been the distance loads of times. This is what I want because this will show me exactly where I am in my career. I think he’s lost 2 in a row or 3 in a row, but I think he’s had over 70 or 80 combat sports fights. That’s a hell of a lot more experience than my 4 minutes in the cage. He’s a K1 champion and he’s been around about 5/6 years, so like I say, it’s what I wanted. I’m f–king prepared, I’ve prepared hard for it. We will see on fight night how far I’ve come on or how far I’ve fell short.”
A question that has been raised regarding Aaron Chalmers’ MMA career is whether he is taking this seriously. Many MMA viewers have criticised Chalmers’ motives for taking part in the sport, but after interviewing him, it’s clear that he is putting his all into this.
“I will be honest. My first camp I did four weeks (of training) and then I went filming. My second time I did 6 weeks (of training) and then I went filming, but I wasn’t training in between. It wasn’t until my last fight in Newcastle where I thought, I’m going to start taking this really seriously because I’m enjoying it. My last camp and this camp, I’ve come on leaps and bounds. My ground game, my wrestling, my striking. Everything has come on, so if I’m looking back a year, I’m 10 times the fighter when I first stepped in that cage. I’m only getting better.”
What aspect of MMA did you take to straight away and which area did you find more difficult to grasp?
“I’m going to be honest with you. This is the total honest truth. About 5 weeks before my first fight, I was just going on the drink because that was my job. I was on the drink 5 weeks before the fight. That’s when my mate from Birmingham was like ‘come to Birmingham’. I went down and done one wrestling like grappling session at UTC (MMA gym). Mate, I will be honest I didn’t do any more grappling or (Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu, all I done for those 4 weeks was boxing, just boxing pads. I did one spar and then boxing pads. I shouldn’t have been in there because I wasn’t ready. Thank God I got the win when I did because I was f–ked. Looking back from then to now, literally training 6 days a week Brazilian (Jiu-Jitsu) and then I’m resting in between. Then I’m doing Muay Thai, I’m boxing, I’m doing strength and conditioning. My camp now is absolute murder, literally killers, but that’s what I’m saying. I’ve prepared for the f–king worst, so if it goes to the 2nd and 3rd (rounds), then I’m ready for it. In the first fight, even in the second. If it had of went into the 2nd and 3rd (rounds) I was in deep water, I would have literally been knackered mate. Whereas now, I’m rolling 6×6 minute rounds and then I’m sparring 5×5 minute rounds with new opponents every time. Doing that for 10 weeks is only going to make you get better and stronger and better in all aspects. I have come on leaps and bounds, honestly.”
What made you decide to train at UTC Birmingham, the home of fighters such as Tom Breese, Fabian Edwards and Leon Edwards?
“I had a friend from Birmingham, who was a friend of my manager and he was like ‘get Aaron to Birmingham’ because he was doing bits at UTC (MMA gym) with Leon (Edwards) and stuff, he is one of Leon’s good friends, and then one day he rang us and said ‘right you’re moving to Birmingham’ he said, ‘because you’re not losing your first fight’. It’s probably the best move I ever made because if I stayed in Newcastle I would have just kept partying. Now, I live with that kid in Birmingham, I’ve got an apartment and I stay their Monday to Friday training and when I’m in camp (I train) Monday to Saturday.”
The term reality star has followed Aaron Chalmers since he made his name on MTV reality TV show Geordie Shore. This branding has made it difficult for Chalmers to be accepted by the core MMA fan base, but Chalmers aims to break away from the Geordie Shore star label and leave his mark on the sport of mixed martial arts. He claimed that it was horrible transitioning from a reality TV star to a mixed martial artist, but it was worth it because he loves what he’s doing.
You’re well known for your role on MTV hit show Geordie Shore, was it difficult transitioning from the life of a Geordie Shore star to a mixed martial artist, and are you trying to break free of the ‘Geordie Shore star’ label?
“Mate, it’s f–king horrible. Imagine going from just getting pissed for a living to standing in a cage and everyone wanting you to get f–king killed. It was awful, but I have done it now and I am trying to break away from Geordie Shore because I am literally loving the fighting and I am going to keep doing it. I am going to go as far as I possibly can. Now I have left Geordie Shore I think people are starting to see that I literally live to train. I’m not fighting and then going filming for 6 weeks, I’m literally fighting having a week or two off and then I’m back in camp again.”
What made you want to get involved in MMA? Is there a specific time that you can pinpoint, a fight that you had watched or witnessed, or was it something that you had thought about for a long period of time?
“It was something that I had thought about over many years. I had always said that I wanted to fight. I was sitting on the beach in Bulgaria with my manager and he was just like ‘What do you want to do after Geordie Shore?’. I just said that I would love to fight, I would love to fight MMA. That was 2 or 3 years ago and he put the music into motion and here we are. If he wasn’t sitting on the beach with us that day, then I wouldn’t be in this position.”
Aaron Chalmers has been attempting to fight former WWE star CM Punk since September 2016, but CM Punk is yet to respond. The two fighters are currently in separate organisations, but with both men earning their fame outside the cage, it would be interesting to see which fighter would come out on top. When asked about the possibility of this matchup, Chalmers admitted that he would jump at the chance to take on the man known as “The Straight Edge Superstar”.
“The CM Punk fight, I wouldn’t mind that. No one has seen him since he got beat in the UFC and he looked like a fish out of water. Apparently, he has been working so much on his f–king (Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu, but some people are never made and never will be a striker, they haven’t got it. He looks like if you threw a flurry of punches, he would just curl up. He just looks a bit stiff, obviously, his ground game could be tremendous, but he doesn’t look like he’s ever going to have that killer f–king dig.”
“It’s a fight that I would definitely take a look at because we are both early in our career, both trained roughly the same. It’s something that I would certainly look at. Like I say, let’s see what happens after his next fight.”
Aaron Chalmers also commented on CM Punk’s documentary ‘The Evolution of Punk’.
“I watched his documentary and he was just getting f–king battered in the gym, like literally battered. It didn’t look like he belonged in there, but like I say, you haven’t seen him for a year and a half. It’s a long time to be hidden away training, so hopefully, he has been grafting hard and hopefully he f–king wins and then we can look at that fight. You never know!”
It was first announced that BAMMA had granted Aaron Chalmers a conditional one-fight release deal enabling him to compete at Bellator 200, but it has now been revealed that “The Joker” will not be returning to BAMMA and he now considers himself a permanent Bellator fighter.
“I won’t be returning, I will be announcing some news at the press conference, but as far as everybody should be aware, I am 100% a Bellator fighter now.”
This news is, of course, not great for UK MMA organisation BAMMA, but it does set up some interesting fights for Aaron Chalmers. If he is able to get past his opponent at Bellator 200, there have been rumours of a potential fight against Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr in the pipeline.
This last year has been an incredible one for Aaron “The Joker” Chalmers. He has gone from being known for his ability to hold down a drink, to knocking out opponents in an MMA cage. He has skyrocketed to one of the biggest promotions in the world, but he is not done yet.
“My goal is to keep progressing how I am in the gym. To hopefully keep getting put on big shows. (Have) Some fighters that I can prove myself against and I just wanted to keep winning, keep chasing them big shows and hopefully one day, 2018, 2019 ,2020 we can fight on the big shows in America.”
2018 seems bright for Aaron Chalmers and he has his eyes set on bigger and better things for 2019. He has moved past his reality TV star days to concentrate on a life of mixed martial arts, and he now aims to create a new legacy inside the cage.
Aaron Chalmers faces Ash Griffiths at Bellator 200 at The SSE Arena in Wembley, London on the May 25, 2018.
Listen to the full interview with Aaron Chalmers below: