Aaron Chalmers, a reality TV star turned MMA fighter, is baffled by the criticism he has received from fans and fighters following his third pro win under the BAMMA banner in Newcastle, on Friday.
Chalmers took just 44 seconds to finish debuting pro Karl Donaldson in a welterweight contest at BAMMA 33 in front of his hometown crowd at the Metro Radio Arena.
The Geordie Shore star claims that the fighters who are criticizing him should focus on their own careers and insisted that any up-and-coming fighter would have taken the same opportunity as him had they been offered it by BAMMA.
“I really, really don’t know,” said Chalmers on the latest episode of The MMA Hour. “I think it really just boils down to nobody wants to see people do well – that’s all I can boil it down to.
“As far as I’m concerned, if people just focused on their own career as much as they did mine then maybe they would start fighting on BAMMA and other big shows. They seem to bringing a lot of attention to my career, but not their own.
“All I do is I just train, I get in there and I fight what’s in front of me. But it seems as though I get a lot of hate because I come from a reality TV show, which obviously gave me the step.
“The reason why I’m on BAMMA is because of Geordie Shore. Obviously, I didn’t start in the amateur ranks I just jumped right in at the deep end, but any up-and-coming fighter, any wannabe fighter that was offered that BAMMA contract – every one of them would take it.
“So, I don’t see why I’m getting so much stick for taking that chance.”
The standard of opposition that Chalmers is being pitted against is the main bone of contention for the 30-year-old’s critics. So far he has faced three unknown opponents, all of whom were making their pro debuts.
According to Chalmers, that criticism should be directed at BAMMA as he has no influence on what opponents he gets matched with.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t match (the fights). Everyone is like ‘Awh’ – they go on like I’ve picked the fight. I don’t have a say, I don’t say ‘pick him’ or ‘no’ – it’s who ever they put in front (of me),” said Chalmers.
Although no previous opponent had been announced for the event, “The Joker” claimed that Donaldson had stepped in to replace his initial opponent, who had a record of 5-1.
“I had a drop out and that’s why Karl stepped in,” he said. “Apparently he was a 12-year boxer, that’s all I know. The kid who I was supposed to fight was 5-1, but later on he said he wanted to fight at (lightweight).
“Obviously, I’m (a welterweight) and he said if we don’t fight at (lightweight) he doesn’t want to fight anymore, so he pulled out and Karl steps in. Like I said, I can only fight what’s in front of me.”
Chalmers admitted that there were hundreds of fighters who were better than him in the UK, but the press attention and social media traction he brings to an event is the reason that BAMMA wants to work with him.
“I don’t really like to say people are jealous of me. I’m just a normal lad whose took a chance that has been given like any of these fighters would,” stated Chalmers.
“Yes, I probably jumped the ladder by getting on BAMMA, but it’s not my fault. They offered me a contract. Why on earth would I say no if I wanted to fight? It’s a huge show.
“This is the way you can look at it. You’ve got two people that are fighters, one sells 100 tickets, one sells 200 tickets. If you own the business who are you going to pick?
“I’m not asking for a title shot, I’m just fighting on the show and doing what I enjoy. That’s the way you can look at it.
“A lot of people say it comes down to jealousy and obviously there are so many skillful fighters in the UK that should be on the show ahead of me, but they’re not and that’s it. There are hundreds of fighters in the UK that are more skilled than me, hundreds and I openly admit that, but they don’t really have the pull on the social media side or on the press side as I have.
“The thing is, I use BAMMA as much as BAMMA uses me. I get a fight on BAMMA because that’s what I want to do. BAMMA reaps the rewards of all the press that comes with it, if that makes sense.”