Ex-Strikeforce heavyweight just released from jail sentence
Just two days after being released from jail in Minnesota, Brett Rogers got the news that in all probability his upcoming fight for Dream was off.
Booked for a fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia on New Year's Eve in Japan, Rogers won't receive a visa and won't be able to enter the country for the fight. Sources close to the fight confirmed the news to HeavyMMA.com late Wednesday.
The now lack of opponent means that Sylvia will drop off the card, sources told Heavy. And Rogers, sources said, will begin seeking out other fight opportunities in the United States.
The heavyweight bout was to be a part of the Dream/M-1 show Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena just north of Tokyo, a fight booking first reported by Heavy last month. Dream did not list the fight earlier this week as part of its official card announcement – likely waiting to see the status of Rogers following his release from jail in Dakota County, Minn., after pleading guilty for a domestic abuse situation with his wife in June. The jail term meant Rogers was going to have a short training window for the fight.
Last month, Rogers was given a 60-day jail sentence, but with time already served and an expected early release after two-thirds of his term, he was expected to be out by Dec. 13. Rogers' attorney asked for his jail time to be delayed until after the fight with Sylvia, but the judge denied that request.
Rogers has lost four of his last five fights. After starting his career 10-0, Rogers lost to Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, then Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce heavyweight title. After a win outside the promotion, he lost to Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament quarterfinals before the domestic dispute complaint in June and subsequent arrest got him released by Zuffa. In September, he lost a split decision to Eddie Sanchez at Titan Fighting Championships 20.
Sylvia (30-7) has won six of his last seven fights following a career-worst three-fight skid with losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81, Emelianenko at the first Affliction show and a 9-second loss to boxer Ray Mercer at an Adrenaline MMA show.
The former UFC heavyweight champ bounced back and won four straight, all by stoppage, before being knocked out in 32 seconds by Abe Wagner at Titan Fighting Championships 16 in January. After a win over unknown Patrick Barrentine on a regional show in Illinois, Sylvia beat Andreas Kraniotakes on ProElite's second show last month.
According to sources with knowledge of the card, Sylvia was considered for a rematch with Emelianenko on the Dream show, but that fight did not materialize. Emelianenko will fight against Satoshi Ishii on the card.
Dream's year-end show will air on HDNet. It will include the semifinals and finals of the bantamweight tournament; a lightweight title fight between champion Shinya Aoki and Satoru Kitaoka; a featherweight title bout between champ Hiroyuki Takaya and Takeshi Inoue; and the return of Emelianenko to the New Year's Eve stage for the first time since 2007. The legendary Russian fought on New Year's Eve cards in Japan each year between 2003-07.