Forget leaving matters in the hands of ringside judges, just end the fight before the final bell. That’s what Whitehorse’s Miller Rogers is now thinking.
For his second bout in a row, the 21-year-old mixed martial artist from Avalanche MMA went the full three rounds, only to be handed a loss at Warpath VI, a mixed martial arts competition in Chilliwack, B.C. on Friday.
“I got in there and I froze a little bit,” said Rogers. “I didn’t get my game plan going. I was going to strike with the guy, keep it on the feet. I was doing fine with that, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on my punches.
“At the end of the night, it was disappointing to lose again, but at the same time it’s motivation. I was going to take a week off and have some fun – now all I can think about is getting back in the gym.”
Rogers lost by split decision to Langley, B.C.‘s Christiaan Allaart, who entered the ring with a 2-1 amateur record. Rogers, who was fighting in the 155-pound weight class, now has a 3-2 amateur record.
“I’m going to fight him again and it’s going to end better next time,” said Rogers. “I’m decided I’m done with the whole decision thing; I’m just going to finish everyone now.
“Judges aren’t needed anymore.”
Rogers tried to sit on a lead he thought he had. He was sure he had won the first two rounds and only had to avoid a knockout or submission to take the fight. The judges thought otherwise.
“I thought I won the fight; I thought I had the first two rounds,” said Rogers. “When I went into the third round, I was thinking ‘survive’ instead of ‘attack.’ I know I messed up and I gave him the last round because I went into it with the wrong mindset.
“I was thinking, ‘I won the first two, I just need to survive the last round – not get finished – and I’ll be good.’ That’s never the mentality you want to go into the last round with, ever.”
Is the loss detrimental to his Muhammad Ali-sized confidence? Nope.
“I’m still as cocky as ever,” he said, with a laugh.
“At the end of the fight, he looked like he got in a fight and I didn’t. I look beautiful.”
Rogers’ first loss was at Warpath IV in February to Rico Brinson in a 160-pound catch weight class, for which Brinson was three pounds over.
Though he considered himself a standup fighter early on, his first three wins were through submission. At Warpath III in December, fighting in the co-main event, Rogers defeated Russ McCumber from Courtney B.C.‘s CV Boxing, who had entered the ring with a 2-2 amateur record.
Rogers’ first amateur bout was in Warpath II last September, beating previously undefeated Allan George 1:01 into Round 2 with a triangle choke. He then got his second win at Caged Rage 5 the following month in Castlegar, B.C., choking out Calgary’s Shane Erickson.
“I want to keep advancing. (Avalanche MMA instructor) Cliff (Shultz) is the best coach in the world; I’m always learning and he’s always teaching,” said Rogers.
Rogers is one of 14 Yukon fighters currently holding a spot on the fight card for Quest for the Title VIII, a mixed martial arts, kickboxing and boxing amateur bouts event to be held in Watson Lake on September 29. His opponent has not yet been determined.
“I’m a hometown favourite anywhere I fight,” said the always-cheeky Rogers. “I’m just stoked to get in there. As long as Cliff says I’m going to fight in Watson – coach makes the decisions, I just fight.
“It would be good to have my immediate family there.”
Whitehorse’s two MMA clubs – Avalanche MMA and Chaos Combat Club – both have six fighters on the fight card.
“What I told the guys was, we have to train pretty hard and show them what we’re made of,” said Schultz in a recent interview.
“It feels pretty good we’re finally getting something going on here. Everybody is so excited.”
Every single bout, in all three disciplines, will consist of a Yukoner versus a British Columbian with one very special exception.
Quest for the Title VIII will also feature the first-ever kickboxing world title bout in the Yukon.
Going for his third world title will be Gabriel Varga, the son of the event’s promoter. The title, which is currently vacant, is the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) Pro K1 super light weight title.
Varga, 27, currently holds both the World Kickboxing Network and World Kickboxing Federation world titles, with over 20 professional wins under his belt. His opponent in Watson Lake is also not determined.
Tickets for Quest for the Title will go on sale July 9 and will range from $40 for general admission to $100 for the front-row seats. They will be available at the Watson Lake Recreation Centre as well as Peak Fitness and the Chaos Combat Club in Whitehorse.
For more information, or to help sponsor the non-profit event, contact Keith Varga at email@example.com.
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