08 Feb - 
With or without haters, Bellator Newcastle’s Aaron Chalmers is here for full MMA journey

LONDON – For Aaron Chalmers, Bellator is a perfect fit.

Chalmers (4-0 MMA, 1-0 Bellator MMA) was a longtime star on the Viacom-owned MTV UK channel as one of the main cast members on the hit show “Geordie Shore.” But now the amiable 31-year-old has decided to put his on-camera boozing and partying to one side in order to chase his passion of MMA.

Initially, Chalmers’ foray into the sport was only supposed to be a one or two-fight experiment. But then things got serious, and he changed his career as a result.

Speaking to MMAjunkie at a Bellator MMA press event at Viacom’s U.K. headquarters, Chalmers admitted: “I’ll be honest. I thought I’d come in, have one fight, make a bit of money, then leave.

“I had the one, (and) I enjoyed it. But I was juggling MMA and ‘Geordie Shore.’ I’m 31 now, so ‘Geordie Shore’ couldn’t last forever. And Geordie Shore was drinking all the time, so my fitness and my health wasn’t the greatest, d’you know what I mean?”

His MMA epiphany came during his third fight in his hometown of Newcastle, where he received a rapturous reception when he registered the third win of his fledgling career.

“When I walked out, and I heard the reaction, I thought, ‘D’you know what it is? I haven’t got as many haters as I actually thought.’ And it was after that fight that I thought, ‘I’m going to give this a good go.’ I did my last ‘Geordie Shore’ in January, and then I knocked it on the head.

“It was the Newcastle show that totally changed my outlook on the whole thing.”

Despite launching his career in a blaze of publicity with British MMA promotion BAMMA, Chalmers has proved to be anything but “just another celebrity fighter.” In stark contrast to some celebrity fighters we’ve seen through the years, Chalmers can actually fight.

Training alongside the fighting brothers Leon and Fabian Edwards, as well as Tom Breese, at Team Renegade in Birmingham, Chalmers has made great strides in his development. And now, as a high-profile member of Bellator’s newly expanded European roster, Chalmers is looking to see how far his skills and training can take him.

Aaron Chalmers at Bellator 200. (USA TODAY Sports)

“I’m going to go as far as I can possibly go,” Chalmers said. “I want to set myself little challenges: I would like to get in the top 10 in England. I want to fight in America. I want to fight in Madison Square Garden. I want to fight on all these big stages, in all these big shows. And I don’t see why I can’t.

“For someone who’s only been doing this sport probably (for) 18 months, I certainly haven’t got a bad skillset, by any means. I handle the pressure well on the big stage. The thing is with me, just keep building my own confidence and keep building my skillset.”

Chalmers is undefeated as a professional, with four first-round stoppage wins against similarly inexperienced opponents.

The Brit’s next test sees him face American Corey Browning (4-2 MMA, 1-0 Bellator MMA) in a lightweight bout at Bellator Europe 1 on Saturday night in a contest against a man who defeated the fighter Chalmers had originally targeted for the event, Kevin Ferguson Jr.

“We were asking for the ‘Baby Slice’ fight. That’s who I was hoping I was going to get in Newcastle, but Corey Browning beat him.” Chalmers said. “I get enough stick (from fans and online trolls) as it is, so rather than taking ‘Baby Slice’ on a loss, I thought, ‘Let’s take the kid that beat him.’ And that’s what I’ve done.

“So they offered Corey: 4-1 amateur, 4-2 pro – a lot more experience than me. So why not? I think that’s the step up that I needed, so that’s why we went for that fight.”

Now that he’s a part of Bellator’s newly launched European Series, Chalmers knows the challenges are going to increase in difficulty with each successive fight. But the Newcastle native is embracing it and looking forward to the rollercoaster journey that lies ahead.

“Obviously the fights are going to get harder and harder, and there are going to be losses along the way,” Chalmers said. “But I think the comeback is always better than the fallback, so it’s how you deal with the loss and come back from it. That’s it. That’s what I want to aim for.”

While some celebrities can sometimes be aloof and a little guarded in interviews, Chalmers has been refreshingly open and honest throughout his MMA journey to date. He also has been acutely aware of his celebrity status and the path that has taken him from the bars and clubs of Newcastle to the bright lights of the Bellator cage.

That self-awareness, he explained, means he can’t ever truly put his reality TV past in the rear-view mirror. After all, it’s what helped him get to the dance in the first place.

“I can’t ever say I’m not a reality TV star, because if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Chalmers said. “I wouldn’t be on Bellator. So I fully understand where I’ve come from in that respect. So ‘Reality TV Star?’ ‘MMA fighter?’ Some people call me a (expletive); it doesn’t really bother me.

“Who knows? In the future, there might be other reality TV shows. But my main priority at the minute is MMA.”

And while he has surrounded himself with an excellent team, top-level training partners and appears to be approaching his martial arts endeavors the right way, Chalmers says he knows he’ll never fully earn the respect of some fans, regardless of his performances inside the cage.

“I could (expletive) win 100 fights, and I wouldn’t get the respect I deserve!” Chalmers said with a wry smile. “I could beat the best in the world and people would still say it’s a fix.

“So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, and if people want to like me and change their opinion, then so be it. But if they don’t, then (expletive) them.”

For more on Bellator Europe 1, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.