COCONUT CREEK, FLA. (Sept. 24, 2012) –Looking to build on his recent second-round TKO victory, heavy-handed KO artist Brett “Da Grim” Rogers (12-4) of St. Paul, Minn. has joined premiere Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training camp American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. in preparation for his first Bellator Fighting Championships heavyweight tournament matchup in Hammond, Ind. on Oct. 5, live on MTV2.
The 31-year-old, 6-foot-5, 265 pound Rogers will face an opponent to be announced at Horseshoe Casino in the quarterfinal round of Bellator’s seventh season tournament, the winner of which will have earned a total of $100,000 in prize money.
“I’ve found a new home here at American Top Team and owe a lot of thanks to them. Coming here has changed my outlook on my career and life, in general, and I’m going to show the world that,” said Rogers, who stopped rival Kevin Asplund in a Bellator matchup on June 22. “When I get in the cage on Oct. 5, people are going to see a different Brett Rogers – better skilled and more confident than ever.
“Brett has demonstrated a sincere re-commitment to his career and to becoming a more well-versed fighter,” said American Top Team Head Trainer and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Ricardo Liborio, who has been working hand-in-hand with Rogers. “I always thought Brett could be one of the most dangerous heavyweights in MMA because of his raw strength and punching power, but that he was also lacking the ground fighting skills necessary to succeed at the highest level of the sport. That’s all changing now and, come next month, people will start seeing that.”
Rogers, a former tire technician for Sam’s Club, became a Cinderella story after bursting onto the professional MMA scene in 2005 and blasting through his first nine opponents with furious displays of striking. Amongst Rogers’ early conquests was a brutal, first round KO (1:00) of Jon Murphy during the first-ever live, CBS primetime telecast of an MMA event.
His outstanding, initial success earned Rogers a shot at UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski at Strikeforce on June 6, 2009. Before a live SHOWTIME television audience, Rogers shocked the world, crumbling the far-more experienced Arlovski in just 22 seconds with a barrage of punches against the cage.
The stunning upset victory set Rogers up for a live, CBS primetime televised showdown with Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko, widely recognized as the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, in the main event of a Strikeforce and M-1 Global co-promoted fight card at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. on Nov. 7, 2009.
Before 5.4 million live TV viewers, Rogers nearly pulled off one of the greatest upsets in MMA history, opening a cut on Emelianenko in the opening seconds of the first round of their main event matchup and pushing Emelianenko to his limits. In the second round, however, Emelianenko suddenly turned things around in dramatic fashion, putting Rogers on the canvas with an overhand right that set the Russian up for a TKO victory.
Of his recent comeback and signing with Bellator, Rogers credits his new management and training team for helping him turn his fortunes around.
“A few people stuck by me when the chips were down and helped me get through a terrible period in my life,” said Rogers. “It’s because of their support that I have a second chance to shine and become something great.”