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Mike Reilly: Coming in Second

Brett RogersEditors Note: Mike Reilly is the owner and head instructor of the MMA gym Team Bison, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Team Bison is home to many of the Twin Cities’ top fighters, including Brett Rogers and Kelly Kobold. Reilly has agreed to join as an occasional contributor in order to provide our readers with an inside perspective of a respected MMA trainer.

First off, to be clear: We have a great deal of respect for Fedor. Likewise, we have a great deal of respect for Arlovski, Abongo, and everyone else that has ever worked hard and shared the stage with us.

However, respect or no respect, we don’t like to finish second. Second place is simply not a place where Brett Rogers will be happy. So while thousands of people will say; it was a great job, good fight, etc; We appreciate the love, but that is simply not something we are ready to settle for.

The desire to fight the best, to be the best has never been stronger. In 2010 we want to fight four times, and we want every fight to be a top ten opponent, a champion, and most of all, we want Fedor again.

Brett came to this fight for the first time really ready. A big part of that preparedness came from the support of our sponsors and friends. Remetee and Throwdown led the pack, supporting us in every possible way. I can not say enough about their support that went way, way, way beyond financial support, clothing, or any material posessions. The people that run and work with Remetee and Affliction opened their hearts and home to us. EA Sports gave Brett one of the greatest thrills of his young career as well as great support. Polanti Watches stepped up for Brett big time and gave us a symbol of the life he is chasing for his family. Of course we also want to thank Full Tilt; a long time sponsor of Brett and Strikeforce.

Among our family now is Strikeforce. Strikeforce brought a show to CBS the way it should have been done. As an organization we could not be happier to be with Strikeforce, and furthermore, we’re honored to have had the chance to carry the Strikeforce banner for this show.

Strikeforce gives the fans great fights time and time again. Above that, the way they work with fighters and the heart of the company represents, in my opinion, what the business should be about. Simply put, I would put more faith in Scott Coker’s word then any written contract. You can go right down the line in the company, Rich, Bob, Carrie, Mike, Shannon, and every single person involved in the promotion has been outstanding.

Falling right in line with the Strikeforce way of handling things are both Showtime and CBS. The Fight Camp 360 show was simply awesome. I’m glad people got to see what Brett is all about, hard work, loyalty, family. I think people like to judge fighters by what they see in the cage, but that is not the truest depiction of the real person; the day to day man. Showtime really showed that part of the story. We are grateful for them and all the press that went out and got the real story.

We also have to thank the critics. We pretty much ignore you for the most part; but please believe we hear you. We see the negativity, the snipping, and all too often the really sad, small and sick malicious spirit that fuels your voices. While it offers just a small part of the puzzle, it absolutely serves in motivating us to try harder. Not only to build a better fighter, but also to become better people. It is often a challenge to be grateful for you, but at the end of the day, and with a great deal of help from God; we strive to find a way to be gracious to you.

Finally, we want to thank all our training partners, family and friends. All the great people who opened their gyms for us, as well as offering advice and encouragement. To Ikkabod, who recorded a sick song for us, and the fans who believe in the American dream.

Back home we will spend the next few weeks with friends and family, then we will be back at it; getting better, faster, stronger; because that is what we do.

In the cage that night, Fedor was the first to mention a re-match; so rest assured, we want that. Likewise, Strikeforce has a great list of heavyweight fighters and we look forward to seeing them all in 2010.

Outside the cage look for Brett to use his story to help other people find something positive. Brett will be working with to help put an end to the cruelty of dog fighting. Brett’s motivation is not just for the dogs, but for the young people that get sucked into this criminal and nasty abomination. Brett recently added a dog to his family (Prince Buddy Rogers). Hopefully in 2010 Brett and Buddy can help knockout dog fighting.

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