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Saturday, Sep 03, 2011

Re-United With His Family, Fired Up Brett Rogers Returns To Action Against Eddie Sanchez In Titan Fighting Championship Sept. 23

Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

“The Grim” looking beyond UFC and Strikeforce, to possibly fighting in Japan

By FCF Staff

Former Strikeforce heavyweight superstar Brett “The Grim” Rogers has re-surfaced after his recent legal troubles stemming from domestic dispute charges, and will make his return to mixed martial arts action against UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez at Titan Fighting Championship at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Friday, Sept. 23.

The 30-year-old Rogers, who was released by Zuffa-owned Strikeforce after being jailed for domestic assault charges for allegedly harming his wife and children, has a fresh new outlook on life and his career, since with reuniting with his family and joining a new training camp – Greg Nelson’s Minnesota Martial Arts Academy that boasts the likes of UFC heavyweight stars Brock Lesnar and Pat Barry as well as undefeated Bellator heavyweight Cole Konrad.

“I’m blessed I got this fight and now I just want to let my hands go,” said the heavy-handed, 6 foot 5 Rogers, who was ousted from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament in the quarterfinal round by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett, who submitted Rogers with a choke in the second round of their matchup on June 18.  “I want to prove to the world that Brett Rogers isn’t going nowhere.  He can stand and hang with the best of them. – even if I have to crawl before I walk again.”

Rogers told FCF that the loss to Barnett was a “devastating thing” to him and, after the fight, which took place in Dallas, Texas, he went home only to experience more drama.

During fight week in Dallas, Rogers said that a three year old child of one of his neighbors walked onto Rogers’ family property and was bitten by Rogers’ dog that was on a leash outside the home.  Rogers only found out about the incident upon his return home and, after an emotionally draining battle with local authorities, he gave in to the demands of the community and put the dog down.

“The city didn’t want to listen to me,” said Rogers, an avid dog lover and member of Knockout Dog Fighting, the non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate organized dog fighting competitions.  “I felt bad for the little child but, at the same time, I thought my dog should still be living.”

Then came the incident at home for which Rogers was charged with assault in the third degree, domestic assault by strangulation and endangerment of a child.

Rogers feels he has been mis-characterized by the local media and the public, whom he said simply see him as a “big, scary black guy with a mohawk who fights MMA.”

“Don’t believe everything you read.  For me to do something (violent),” Rogers said, “you have to do something to me first.”

From the beginning of his fight career, Rogers said his motivation for success has been almost solely to better his family’s quality of life.

“I’m fighting for my family – to put food in the family.  Every second I’m fighting, I’m thinking about my family and how I can better their lives.

“Everything got blown out of proportion,” Rogers continued.  “It’s over and done with.  My attorney is taking care of business and making sure things are straight and that I’m home where I need to be so I can provide.”

Rogers, a former tire technician for Sam’s Club, became a Cinderella story after boosting his professional record to a perfect 9-0 by scoring a second round TKO on Abongo Humphrey with knee strikes during Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz on April 11, 2009.  The win allowed him to leave his day job and focus solely on his budding fight career.

In his next start, Rogers pulled off an upset of mammoth proportions, crumbling Andrei Arlovski with a fearsome barrage of punches just 22 seconds into their June 6, 2009 matchup.  The victory earned Rogers a showdown with all-time great and then-number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, in the main event of a live, CBS primetime televised Strikeforce card.

In the first round of their matchup, Rogers opened a cut on Emelianenko and put the Russian in danger before the far more experienced Emelianenko suddenly turned the tides with an overhand punch that floored Rogers in the second round.

Rather than take a tune-up fight after the loss to Emelianenko, the Rogers camp accepted another high-risk bout with Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem, on May 15, 2010.  From the outset, Overeem owned Rogers and stopped him in the first round.

On Oct. 23, 2010, Rogers temporarily rebounded, earning a unanimous decision over Ruben “Warpath” Villareal.  The bounce back was short-lived, though, as Rogers faced Barnett next.

Of his new training camp, Rogers said that he is benefiting from being able to work with other standout heavyweights, something he felt he lacked at his former camp, Ambition, led by Rogers’ former manager Mike Reilly.

“I’ve still got nothing but love for Ambition and Mike, but there’s always a time to move forward in life, and I needed to move forward,” explained Rogers.  “Greg Nelson and his team welcomed me with open arms.  They didn’t judge me and I’ve benefited from training with them since I walked in there.”

Rogers said that the possibility of returning to one of the Zuffa-owned promotions is something that is on his mind.  At the same time, he was somewhat turned off by the way his dismissal took place, saying that no one from the company bothered to even have a phone conversation with him after he had received a voicemail, while in jail, from a Zuffa employee, stating that he was being terminated.

“They could have given me a little more respect,” said Rogers, who competed in a total of five Strikeforce bouts while spending two years with the promotion.  “I got out of jail and tried calling them, but no one picked up the phone or returned my calls.  I felt like people were just avoiding me, so I gave up.  Dana White needs to man up and pick up a phone.”

The manner in which the situation was treated by his former employer has motivated Rogers to look beyond Strikeforce and UFC should Zuffa not wish to re-sign him,  and towards the possibility of fighting in Japan.

“UFC isn’t the only thing out there.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to fight out East in Asia,” he said.  “I’m hoping something like that can happen down the line.  I’m going to keep my options open.”


posted by FCF Staff @ 3:00 pm
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