Multiple sources have informed FiveOuncesOfPain.com within the last 24 hours that Affliction Entertainment officials are currently attempting to secure EliteXC-contracted heavyweight Brett Rogers for a possible Jan. 24 clash with Josh Barnett.
Affliction’s Jan. 24 show, titled “Day of Reckoning,” will air on Showtime pay-per-view and will emanate from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The event will be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko defending the WAMMA heavyweight title vs. former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.
Barnett has been advertised for the event but no opponent has been announced. While a deal is not yet in place with Rogers, sources indicate that the promotion’s preferrence is to sign the 8-0 Minnesota native.
Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champion and is ranked as a top ten heavyweight by MMA Weekly, Sherdog, and the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA).
Nicknamed the “Babyface Assassin,” Barnett has not competed since a second round knockout over former UFC heavyweight title contender Pedro Rizzo during Affliction’s debut event, “Banned,” on July 19.
The former PRIDE superstar is 23-5 during a professional fighting career that began in 1997. In that time, Barnett has recorded notable victories over Randy Couture, Dan Severn, Semmy Schilt, Hidehiko Yoshida, Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt, and current interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Rogers, a member of Team Bison MMA in St. Paul, is still under contract to EliteXC. Despite not being a free agent, he would be allowed to compete at the Jan. 24 event as ProElite, the parent company of EliteXC, is giving permission to many of its fighters to sign one-off deals with other promotions while it helps to reorganize.
The 6’5” bruiser is 3-0 while competing under the EliteXC banner. Rogers made his debut for the promotion during the undercard of its “Renegade” event last November, where he submitted Ralph Kelly via punches at 1:43 of round 1.
Following the Kelly victiory, he returned to the cage during EliteXC’s “Street Certified” event and he improved to 2-0 in EliteXC following a first round knockout over James Thompson in Showtime’s televised opener of the event.
From there, Rogers became one of two men to compete in the first-ever mixed martial arts bout to be televised live on primetime network television on May 31. Matched up against former Syracuse linebacker Jon Murphy during the opener of EliteXC and CBS’ first-ever telecast of “Saturday Night Fights,” the former tire technician improved to 8-0 overall with a first round knockout.
Rogers has not competed since the win over Murphy but had been scheduled to return to competition on Nov. 8. He was set to fight Paul Buentello during EliteXC’s ill-fated Reno event that was canceled after Showtime pulled a financial commitment. Incidentally, Buentello is also scheduled for the Jan. 24 show in a bout vs. Fedor Emelianenko-protege, Kiril “Baby Fedor” Sidelnikov.