Mixed martial arts more than a hobby for Jared Chaney
By Ben Pherson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
A little more than a year ago, Jared Chaney was working as a material science engineer in Maryland.
Saturday night in Rochester, he was busy getting punched in the face.
These days, Chaney isn’t exactly putting his engineering degree to use. He’s more focused on polishing his mixed-martial-arts skills.
Chaney fought Saturday in front of more than 2,000 fans at Graham Arena during Spring Sting, an event that featured both mixed martial arts and boxing.
Chaney put his engineering career on hold about a year ago to spend more time with his son, Logan, who is now 1 1/2 years old.
In the meantime, Chaney picked up a hobby — mixed martial arts.
Not exactly the logical choice for a 30-year-old.
"I’m never going to make as much money (in mixed martial arts) as I did as an engineer, but I do it for fun. I do it because I enjoy it, especially the competitive aspect," Chaney said.
Chaney, at only 145 pounds, does have somewhat of a pugilistic background. He said he was a mediocre wrestler in high school and trained in judo and grappling while living in Maryland.
Chaney says his wife is supportive, though she doesn’t exactly approve of his new hobby.
Saturday was a prime example why his wife is skeptical — Chaney was dominated by a superior wrestler, Jordan Neer of Centerville, Iowa. Neer took Chaney to the mat several times, gained a dominant position and hammered down punches on Chaney’s face. Eventually, Neer secured an armbar, and won the fight by submission in the second round.
Chaney left the ring with a bloody noise, a bruised face and a broken thumb.
"My wife supports me, but I’ve shown her people who get beat up like I did (Saturday), and she said, ‘You better never come home looking like that,’ " Chaney said. "Well, I’m going home like that now."
His wife’s job is what brought the family to Rochester. While living in Maryland, Chaney’s wife, who has a Ph.D. in human genetics, was offered a fellowship at Mayo Clinic.
So Chaney quit his job and the family moved to Rochester. Now he’s a stay-at-home dad. And a mixed martial artist.
"I worked pretty hard in my previous job, and I didn’t take a lot of vacations," Chaney said. "I wanted to take a year off and spend time with my son, plus we have a daughter on the way. Family is first, and fighting is secondary."
Chaney said he picked up the sport about eight months ago, when he came across Logan Clark’s gym, Rochester MMA.
"I walked in there, and it was just Logan and Mike Wenzel," Chaney said. "I asked them if I could train with them, and they said, ‘Sure. Do you have any grappling experience?’ Logan has been great; he’s a great teacher."
In eight months, Chaney has had five fights, going 3-2. He plans to continue fighting for as long as he can. Or as long as his wife will allow it.
"I love the sport. I love the training. Even if I couldn’t fight any more, I’d still train. It’s great physical activity," Chaney said.