Thirty-one-year-old Strikeforce veteran Brett “Da Grim” Rogers (11-4, 1 NC) has signed with Bellator Fighting Championships. The Minnesota heavyweight will make his debut with the promotion on June 22 at Bellator 71 in Chester, W.V..
“I am incredibly thankful to Bjorn Rebney and Bellator for giving me and my family this opportunity. I feel that I am still one of the top heavyweights in the sport and now I have the opportunity to prove it with Bellator. I love the tournament format as it will give me the chance to regain my top position, of course with a lot hard work.”
After starting his career with 10 straight victories that included nine wins by knockout, Rogers was awarded a heavyweight title shot (WAMMA) against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce in November 2009.
Despite an impressive start against the smaller Emelianenko, Rogers ultimately suffered a knockout in the second round, marking the first loss of his career. Approximately six months later he was knocked out again; this time by Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem.
In October 2010 Rogers picked up a decision win on the regional circuit against Ruben Villareal.
Then in June 2011 he returned to Strikeforce for a spot in their Heavyweight Grand Prix, ultimately suffering a second round submission loss to veteran Josh Barnett in the quarterfinals.
Shortly thereafter Rogers was released by Strikeforce after he was arrested on domestic-assault charges against his wife. Rogers was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years probation.
The Minnesota heavyweight returned to the regional circuit in September 2011 where he dropped a split decision to UFC and Bellator veteran Eddie Sanchez at Titan Fighting Championship 20.
Now with his legal troubles behind him Rogers is getting an opportunity for a fresh start with his career. And according to Rogers, he has also patched things up at home:
“Over the past year I have been challenged in my personal life, but all is now good in the Rogers family. Everyone makes mistakes in life but it’s how you recover that really counts. I spend every day with my wife and kids and enjoy every minute of it. Fighting is my job and I love it, but I also love my family and that’s why I made things right before returning to the cage. All I can say is get ready for a new and improved Brett Rogers.”
Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said he was in Chicago the night Rogers fought Emelianenko and has followed his career. He feels this could be the type of fresh start Rogers needs to get his career and personal life back to where he hoped they would be.
An opponent for Rogers’ Bellator debut has not yet been confirmed. Stay close to ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) for that and other Bellator 71 fight announcements.