Aaron Chalmers’ social media handles still remind his fans of his Geordie Shore beginnings, but the reality star turned MMA fighter is slowly working to break away from his former life.
The Newcastle native promised himself he would compete in an MMA fight before he was 30, and because he was a household name, BAMMA handed him the chance to do that in front of 17,000 people and on live TV.
Since that first-round win, Chalmers has claimed four more early finishes and become one of the most hated fighters in the UK.
Bellator saw Chalmers’ pulling power and poached him from BAMMA, handing the 31-year-old a five-fight contract. In the process of a messy divorce from BAMMA, Chalmers admitted his approach to professional MMA has changed.
‘I’m more professional, because I used to have a fight and then I’d leave and go partying for months,’ Chalmers told Metro.co.uk inside his gym, Team Renegade, in Birmingham.
‘My other life it was constant hangovers, drinking problems and going down the wrong path every day. I much prefer this.
‘I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for four months, that’s a huge thing for me. I used to drink every day.’
He continued: ‘Whereas now, I don’t leave. I’m down here six days a week. I see my girlfriend on a Saturday and Sunday night, and then I’m back here Monday morning.
‘I used to train maybe three, four times a week. This is my life now. I don’t have Geordie Shore or any television, this is literally all or nothing,’ he said.
‘I’m going to let [everyone] see on fight night, because what you’ll see in this fight and what you saw in the last fight… it’s going to be totally different.
‘I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ve been grinding away since August. You’re in for a treat.’
Chalmers has lived a charmed life in MMA since making his debut, steamrolling lesser opponents and producing quick finishes.
‘Every day is jiu-jitsu or wrestling, because that was my weakest point. With signing for Bellator there could be a chance I could fight an American, so that’s what we’ve been brushing up on a hell of a lot. I’ve got a new boxing coach, striking coach and I’m now sparring amateur boxers. The all-round game has improved. We spar two, three times a week. I spar twice boxing and one MMA, then that’s not including all your rolling and wrestling rounds.’
The Brit was set for a showdown with Kevin Ferguson Jr, the son of fighting legend Kimbo Slice, before Corey Browning stopped ‘Baby Slice’ in two rounds last October.
Browning became the opponent thanks to his victory over Baby Slice, and Chalmers explained that as he has got more serious about his pro career, his desire to fight quality opposition has increased.
‘He’s been fighting a good five, six years so he’s got a lot more experience than me,’ he said.
‘But these are the fights I want. The fights like CM Punk don’t really interest us anymore, because it doesn’t do anything for me as a fighter.
‘Fighting him would do nothing for my career, because I don’t think he’s very good. These are the fights I’m looking for. Get through Corey and then move onto the next one.’
He added: ‘I think he can take a smack. But then again I’m coming down from welterweight, so can he take a smack from someone who can knock welterweights out? We’ll see.’
The Newcastle crowd are expected to be loud supporters of Chalmers after spending much of his pro career getting booed during his walk-out.
While Chalmers is used to the vitriol that is slung his way, he is not overly concerned about what his MMA future holds for him, accepting his record cannot remain unblemished.
‘It’s an obsession, that’s what it is, I think it has to be,’ Chalmers explained.
‘They think I’m going to disappear [once I lose]. Well, they’ll be sadly mistaken, because the comeback is always better than the fall back in my eyes.
‘I know what’s going to happen. I know I won’t go through my career unbeaten. I don’t want easy fights.
‘I want fights that are going to test me. I know I’m going to get beat. I know when I do get beat, I’ll come back even better.’