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Bellator MMA’s Aaron Chalmers used to have crippling anxiety: ‘I couldn’t leave the house’

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UK reality TV star and MMA fighter Aaron Chalmers talks about his battle with anxiety.

UK reality TV star Aaron Chalmers, who made his professional MMA debut in 2017, revealed to Ariel Helwani that he has someone else manage his Twitter profile due to online trolls.

‘The Joker’ said his new-found fame and stardom triggered a turbulent bout of anxiety, and at one point his symptoms were so severe he couldn’t leave the house.

“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 on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll.

“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, who is somewhat of a local celebrity having appeared on Geordie Shore, tried to numb the anxiety with alcohol but says it only made matters worse in the long run. The 31-year-old eventually sought help from a therapist and says it was ‘the best thing’ he’s ever done.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

“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 extended his win streak to 4-0 at Bellator 200, submitting fellow Brit Ash Griffiths with a guillotine choke in the first round. The Newcastle local is undefeated and has won all four fights via first-round stoppage.

Asked whether he still struggles with anxiety, Chalmers said he now walks into every room like he owns the place and even enjoys the limelight.

“Not at all,” Chalmers said when asked if he still has anxiety.

“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.”