Former Reality TV Star, Bellator MMA Welterweight Aaron Chalmers Discusses Battle with Anxiety

By: Nathan Zur
May 31, 2018

Current Bellator MMA welterweight Aaron Chalmers was a recent guest on “The MMA Hour” to discuss his latest win as well as his transformation from reality TV star to professional fighter.

Chalmers, who rose to fame on the MTV’s “Geordie Shore” before transitioning to MMA extended his unbeaten start in professional MMA to 4-0 when he defeated Ash Griffiths via a guillotine choke last Friday at Bellator 200.

“The Joker” revealed to host Ariel Helwani how his fame had brought with it toxic internet trolls, which caused to develop crippling anxiety that he had been battling for a number of years. Chalmers pointed out that he actually has his management team filter through his Twitter account to ensure he isn’t exposed to the distasteful comments.

“Two years ago, there was a stage where I couldn’t leave the house with my anxiety. To walk out in front of 8,000 people at Bellator, that’s an achievement in itself,” Chalmers told Helwani.

“No one really knows the struggles that other people are going through. For me, to get to the point where I can’t leave the house because of anxiety to walking out and doing that, that’s a huge achievement. But no one sees that. They just say, ‘Oh, he’s fighting for Bellator… he’s f*ckin’ this and that.’ But like I say, in two years I’ve gone from a really dark place to on top of the world. If someone told me two years ago that I’d be walking out in front of people and having a fight, I would’ve said, ‘No way.’”

Chalmers recalled how he turned to drinking as his way of dealing with the comments from the online trolls.

“I was on a big television show and when you have a big platform you’re just a target for abuse. You put yourself in the limelight. I would get one bad comment and 20 good, but I would always focus on the bad. At the time, the way I got around things was to drink, so I drank every night and that made the anxiety worse — it was a never-ending circle,” he explained.

“Eventually, I started seeing a therapist and speaking about it was the best thing I ever done. Fast forward two years, [I’ve gone] from sitting in my room not able to leave to walking out in front of Bellator in front of millions and I loved every minute of it.”

Chalmers was asked if he still struggles to deal with anxiety now as a professional mixed martial artist:

“Not at all,” he replied.

“Once someone told me, ‘Wherever you go walk in like you own the place’ -- that’s why I walked in the Bellator cage like I owned the whole place. Wherever I go now, I enjoy it. Even people booing, normally it would annoy me but I enjoy it. Every place that I walk into now, I walk into it like I own it, that’s always stuck in my head.”

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