Exclusive: Jason Chambers Talks “Spreading The Love,” Helping Lyle Beerbohm Secure A Big Comeback Fight
By Hal Coleman
The call finally came – but not from Strikeforce. Instead, Lyle Beerbohm has been given new life by a new promotion – Worldwide MMA – thanks to sports agent Jason Chambers, who secured the lightweight (155 pounds) a much-needed bout against former WEC champion Jamie Varner, in El Paso, TX. on March 31.
Full Contact Fighter reported on Jan. 12 that Beerbohm, who has not seen action since April 9, 2011, when he was quickly submitted with a neck crank by DREAM champion Shinya Aoki at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley in San Diego, Calif., has since been at work in the woods near his home in Spokane, Wash., chopping trees to make a living.
Strikeforce had extended Beerbohm the opportunity to come back to the promotion last July in a matchup with J.Z. Cavalcante, but Beerbohm was forced to withdraw due to a rib injury sustained during training camp for the fight. Since that time, Beerbohm told Full Contact Fighter that he had not been contacted by Strikeforce offiicals and that, his efforts to reach out to Strikeforce matchmaker Sean Shelby went unanswered.
Chambers, who represents fighters through Apex Sports Agency, caught wind of Beerbohm’[s troubles after the story made its way to the popular Underground Forum and, soon after took action.
“I met Lyle before his Aoki fight and thought he was a really good guy and I hate to see guys struggle like that, especially when they have a family,” said Chambers, who competed as a mixed martial artist between 1998 and 2008 and amassed an 18-5 overall record in the sport.
“I started making a few calls," said Chambers, "to see what was out there that would make sense for someone of his caliber and where he was in his career and this opportunity presented itself. I can't really take too much credit for it. Having been in the sport for so long I always try to keep guys in mind if something makes sense.”
Chambers may not want to take credit for helping book the fight, but doing so wasn’t his responsibility since Beerbohm is not under contract with Apex.
“I believe in spreading the love,” said Chambers. “There have been a few times when I have called fighter friends of mine and told them to tell their managers to call this guy or that guy because there was a fight that made sense for them. Fighters need to fight.”
The fight next month presents Beerbohm with a key opportunity to rekindle the momentum he had in his favor at the end of 2010 when he was an undefeated rising star on the Strikeforce roster, who seemed destined for a title shot, particularly after defeating notable adversaries in Duane “Bang” Ludwig and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro.
Despite his previous success and his storied past as a former meth addict who found his calling in life as a fighter, making him one of the more unique and marketable athletes in MMA, Beerbohm’s inability to get another fight was not a complete shock to Chambers.
“The marketplace outside of the big shows is fickle. Most smaller MMA shows can only afford to put one, possibly two UFC vets on a card. Lyle is competing against those bigger names for those spots and most likely the UFC vet wins over the Strikeforce vet from a promoters point of view” explained Chambers.
“Also, Lyle’s a dangerous opponent for many guys out there – hes a bad fight for lots of people,” Chambers continued. “I would imagine there is some trepidation in an opponent’s mind when being proposed with a fight versus Lyle. Most guys not in the UFC aren’t going to beat Lyle, IMO and if you lose to him, you just lost to a guy that Strikeforce cut, if you beat him, hes not necessarily a big name so it doesn’t really advance your career from that perspective. He is in a really odd place right now from a matchmaker’s and promoter’s viewpoint. Guys that get cut from the UFC can headline smaller shows, but guys that were Stikeforce vets, tend to be treated as second class citizens and can have a difficult time finding a decent payday. Its unfortunate.”
As for Beerbohm’s potential, Chambers believes that the 33-year-old lightweight still has the potential to rise to the top of the 155 pound weight division despite his recent setbacks.
“I think the ball is really in his court,” said Chambers. “It’s hard to judge a guy based on a loss to Aoki and a decision loss to Pat Healy. Aoki is Aoki and has proven that he can beat almost anyone on any given day – Pat Healy is extremely underrated and when you leave it to the judges you can come out on the wrong side of a decision. It happens. Do I think Lyle still has a future in this sport? 100 percent. He has shown a tremendous ability to grow and adapt as a mixed martial artist. I would imagine he will pick up three or four wins against the right opponents and be right back in the mix.”