Whitehorse’s Miller Rogers just took his first mixed martial arts title belt, but he isn’t exactly jumping for joy over it.
The 25-year-old put in months of training to prepare for a fight at the Gionco International last Friday only to have his opponent default for not making weight.
“I got a phone call Thursday afternoon saying my opponent wasn’t going to be making weight,” said Rogers. “Through that process, because it was for a title, it counts as a disqualification for him. So I ended up winning a default 170 (pound) title.
“It comes down to: I was prepared for the fight, I was under weight, I put in a six-month training camp to come down and fight and he was unable to compete. He ended up in the hospital with 23 per cent kidney function.”
Rogers, who trains out of Whitehorse’s Avalanche MMA, now holds the Gionco All Martial Arts welterweight amateur title.
He was supposed to enter the ring against Liam Stevenson, from Mamba MMA in Abbotsford, who attempted to cut too much weight in too little time, forcing water from his kidneys.
“This is an eye-opening experience,” Stevenson said in a post on the Mamba MMA Facebook page. “My doctor is familiar with MMA and the cutting process. And really explained to me how dangerous it really is. I have damaged my kidneys so bad that if I were to attempt to cut to 170 again I would die or have 100 per cent kidney failure. Very eye-opening.”
Friday’s fight would have been Rogers’ first in four and a half years. Rogers, who now has a 4-2 amateur record, has had some crummy luck with reentering the ring. He was supposed to fight at the previous Gionco event in the 155-pound eight class, but then too his opponent withdrew. To make up for it, organizers offered Rogers the title shot.
“I finally got my head back on my shoulders, into a solid training camp, and (Avalanche owner Cliff Schultz) thought I was ready to get back in the ring,” said Rogers.
As a titleholder, Rogers is now obligated to defend his belt, which he intends to do at the next Gionco event in the New Year.
“I’m back in the gym and ready to go already,” said Rogers. “I can’t wait to get back in the ring and fight.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org