UPDATE – Unfortunately, this fight was cancelled at the last minute. We do not have a reason for the cancellation.
March 8, 2011 – There will be some rumbling down in the valley this weekend as Triple AAA Promotions presents “Budweiser Warriors: Fightfest 2” from the Civic Center in Laredo, TX this coming Saturday, March 12th.
Notable for Houston area fight fans at this event will be the presence of one Jared Chaffee. Coming out of the Gracie Barra North Houston camp led by Chad Robichaux, the 26 year-old featherweight will be making the jump to the professional ranks after a stellar 3-1 amateur career highlighted by a Lonestar Beatdown victory over Gerzan Chaw back in May of last year.
I spoke to Jared recently to get his perspective on his upcoming professional debut at Fightfest 2 far from the bright lights of Houston against an unknown opponent. He also speaks about what it has been like for him leading the life of a devout husband and father while simultaneous focusing on his burgeoning MMA career. Enjoy.
Before we begin with fight-specific questions, tell us a little about yourself. Who were you before you started training and what are you like outside the cage?
Before I started training I was, and still am, busy working a full-time job in construction. For the last ten years, I have worked my life away. I rarely have time for myself, because I am always working. I grew up just outside of Detroit, Michigan, and moved to Houston with my wife at the very end of 2007. Growing up in Michigan, my hobbies included snowboarding, skateboarding, basketball, and hanging out with friends. Never anything to do with MMA. It wasn’t until I moved to Houston that i started practicing martial arts. My dad is a black belt in taekwondo, so it was always in the back of my mind to do martial arts. I did taekwondo for a short time when i was still in elementary school, and i always wanted to come back to some type of martial art. Outside of the cage, I am very family oriented, and i try to think of friends and family first. I am very easy going, and actually non-confrontational, for the most part. The most important people in my life are my wife and daughter.
What’s it like for you splitting the duties of husband and father with the added responsibilities of now training as a professional fighter?
This has been incredibly difficult, because it has been mixed in also with me working two, sometimes three jobs. I try to spend one night during the week at home with my family, as well as Saturday nights and all Sundays. I will not train on Sundays anymore, because that is my family day, and day of rest. My wife is very supportive of anything I do as long as I don’t do it half ass. So when I compete, it’s for real.
How did you get into mixed martial arts anyways? What drove you into the gym?
My dad. Like I said earlier, as a kid I always looked up to him and admired him for having a black belt. I remember when I was 13, my dad tried to take me to a Jiu Jitsu gym, and I didn’t like it then. So i figured I would give it a try now. I live in The Woodlands, I stopped at a taekwondo gym, and it just seemed too fake. I looked up gyms online and I saw Robo’s gym which was right down the road from where I lived, so I went to check it out. Daniel Kim was running a Thai boxing class when I walked in, and he had those boys working hard. He told me to come in the next day, I did, and here I am.
What do you enjoy about it (training) and what drove you to begin competing?
I like training because I enjoy learning something new every day. How to protect myself and my family is what kept me coming back. I enjoy the exercise, and the camaraderie. I am real close with all of my training partners, they are like brothers. I never wanted to be a fighter, but I do like to compete. Alex Morono asked me if I wanted to fight, I said sure, and Robo set me up with a fight.
You went 3-0 as an amateur, culminating with the win over Gerzan Chaw – a fight which many felt you won decisively. Can you give us your thoughts on that amateur fight and your amateur career?
Well actually I went 3-1 as an amateur. I lost my last bout in October via split decision. I felt great as an amateur, I took on some very tough competitors. Benjamin Martin, which was 9-3 I believe at the time, and I was 1-0, I didn’t have as much experience and was definitely the underdog, and I pulled off a clean victory. Going into my fight against Gerzan I was in incredible shape, it was a month after fighting Benjamin Martin, so it was almost like going through an 8 week training camp. It was a tough fight, Gerzan is a real tough opponent, much respect to him. My last fight against Calvin Miller, I only trained for about 2 1/2 weeks. I took the fight last minute, and I learned a lot. I will never take a fight not being prepared. I am too serious when I compete.
How did you know you were ready to go pro?
The second Robo told me I was. I train real hard and I have fought some tough competitors.
You’re making your pro debut far from the bright lights of Houston at Fightfest 2 down in Laredo on March 11th. Why so? Was that by design?
Sure. I listen to what my coach tells me and if that is what he wants me to do, then I am there. He has never steered me wrong and I believe he only has my best interest at heart. He has a lot of confidence in me, so I will perform well in whatever bout he puts me in.
Your opponent is Jonathan Wise out of North Garland, TX. I don’t know too much about him but are you doing anything special for this opponent?
I am no longer fighting Jonathan Wise. I am fighting James Mosely, and I know absolutely nothing about him either other than he better be ready. I am.
Any predictions for how your professional debut will go Jared?
None what so ever. You never know what to expect when you jump in there.
What’s next for you after this fight?
One fight at a time, I have not thought that far ahead.
Anybody you’d like to thank on our way out?
The Lord for continuing to give me the strength to compete, my wife, my family, Robo, Gerardo, Jayhson, all the rest of my coaches, my training partners, and all of my Gracie Barra family, and Mike Calimbas for taking the time to show an interest in local fighters.