After earning a decisive victory in the biggest fight of his young MMA career at Bellator 200, the future seemed rosy for undefeated Geordie, Aaron Chalmers (4-0-0).
That is at least until ‘The Joker’ ran into some complications with getting released from his existing deal with BAMMA, the promotion who gave him his break in the sport. After fighting three times in seven months for the UK based promotion, Chalmers was given the opportunity to fight on the main card at Bellator 200 in London in just his fourth professional fight.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on his show earlier this week, Chalmers explained the complications preventing him from following up on his successful Bellator debut.
“I was told I was going to be released from my BAMMA contract after the fight with Bellator, that didn’t happen,” Chalmers said. “It’s a load of stuff that is now affecting the fighting because it’s a legal case that I can’t fight. So, BAMMA said they don’t want [me] to fight for them again and I won’t fight for them again after what’s happened, so it would just make sense to terminate the contract but for some reason they’re not releasing [me].”
Chalmers explained that he never officially signed with Bellator, he was simply granted a one fight release from his BAMMA deal in order to make an appearance at the Bellator’s landmark London event earlier this year. Following his success at the event, Chalmers says they agreed to release him from his deal to allow him to pursue his career with the American promotion. Now, as far as ‘The Joker’ is concerned, BAMMA are not holding up their end of the bargain.
“I never signed with Bellator,” Chalmers explained. “BAMMA gave [me] a one-fight release, so I could fight on Bellator and afterwards they said they would release [me] which was part of the deal and it never got stuck to. It’s unfortunate that it’s had to go to court.”
“Apparently there were some things that were said, apparently I wasn’t making a difference when it come to the fighting, ticket sales. But my last fight in my hometown was 6,500 people, their last show was 300 people so there’s a bit of a difference there.”
The 31-year-old rose to fame on popular MTV show Geordie Shore and his celebrity away from the cage, particularly in the UK far exceeds his fame as a fighter. Adding salt to the wound for Chalmers, this contract stale mate is preventing him from accepting a number of other lucrative opportunities which are coming his way.
“It’s not just affecting my fighting, it’s affecting other things,” Chalmers said. “I’ve had TV offers that I can’t sign for because it’s in court. I’ve got offers from a big boxing promotion to fight in Europe, in England that I can’t look at. Obviously, I’ve got an offer on the table from Bellator that I can’t sign. It’s just holding everything back. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this because when I was with BAMMA we had a great relationship.”
The one saving grace for the Newcastle native is that his BAMMA contract has a fixed end date. Although far from ideal, should the promotion hold their ground and refuse to release him and ‘The Joker’ maintain his stance of refusing to fight again for BAMMA, Chalmers would become a free agent in May 2019.
“I would just see my contract out and I wouldn’t fight,” Chalmers said. “I think it ends next May. Even if it was a contract where I had to fight so many fights, I couldn’t fight because there’s no shows booked in to fight anyway. It’s a weird situation that I’m hoping to get over and done with as soon as possible and then I can look at all the offers that are on the table.”
“I wouldn’t mind getting one (fight) in at the end of this year. I’ve only had one this year whereas last year, I had three. I want to be on Bellator. I want to fight in America. I just want to go as far as my career will take [me], as far as I can push myself in MMA. That’s the plan.”
The contract stale mate comes at an interesting time for both promotions. Bellator have aggressively expanded into the European market in recent weeks, signing a total of 22 British and Irish based fighters including BAMMA’s reigning two weight champion Terry Brazier just last month.