December, 1, 2011
By Chad Dundas
Ric Fogel for ESPN.comJaw dropper: Saitama Super Arena on New Year's Eve is about to hit a whole new level of low.The proper first reaction on Wednesday to reports that Dream is on the verge of booking a fight between Tim Sylvia and Brett Rogers in Japan on New Year’s Eve: How can this happen?
No, literally, how can this fight happen when the very same day the news broke, Rogers was sentenced to 60 days in a Minnesota jail after pleading guilty to assaulting his wife in June? Even if a story in the Pioneer Press newspaper is accurate that Rogers could be free by mid-December after getting credit for time already served, are we to understand that he’s basically just going to show up at Saitama Super Arena and wing it against Sylvia a couple weeks later?
If so – if this “fight” really happens – it’s enough to make you fall to your knees and praise the fact that here in the states, we have state athletic commissions. It might also represent a new low, even for the fly-by-night matchmaking standards we typically expect from New Year's Eve in Japan.
If nothing else, when one guy shows up fresh from the pokey and the other assumedly out-of-shape and still chasing pie-in-the-sky dreams of regaining his former glory, Sylvia versus Rogers will fit right in alongside such New Year’s gems as Fedor Emelianenko versus Zuluzinho, Royce Gracie versus Akebono and Bob Sapp versus an actual Japanese cartoon character.
With one notable exception, of course: That we know of, none of those previous participants went to court a month before his fight and referred to the incident where he broke his wife’s jaw and knocked out one of her teeth as “just one of those nights.” None of them had to have a judge chastise him for “[minimizing] the horror of that night” and then deny his lawyer’s request to delay his jail time until after his next fight.
At least that can be said for Zuluzinho. It can’t be said for Rogers, who apparently plans to show up sans any real training camp to fight the flagging former UFC champion.
Sherdog.comNo one would be too surprised to learn Tim Sylvia, left, is in dire need of a paycheck.
No, we’d like to tell you cooler heads will prevail here. We like to tell you that this fight won’t actually end up happening. Unfortunately, this is a New Year's Eve super-show in Japan, so it probably will, even if the bus from jail has to drop Rogers off outside the arena.
If it happens, it’ll be because there is no one to stop it, because both guys need a win over somebody people have actually heard of before and -- maybe most of all -- both need the money.
After going from feel-good story to Strikeforce washout to infuriating cautionary tale during the last 24 months, it’s highly possible Rogers needs the money desperately. He probably needs it worse than Todd Duffee needed it when he showed up for an equally sad and hastily made matchup against Alistair Overeem last year.
Duffee lost that fight via 19-second knockout and if the same fate befalls Rogers against the far less dangerous Sylvia, you’ll have to forgive us if we don’t cry too many tears.
It’ll just be one of those nights.