Often, when we see and hear from fighters, it’s because they’ve got a fight or a product to promote, or they’ve just competed, and they’re moving towards a goal. But what happens when a fighter is in limbo, waiting for a phone call with an opportunity to inject some much-needed impetus into their career?
That’s the position English lightweight Saul Rogers currently finds himself in. The former TUF standout and current Bellator lightweight has had a frustrating time since joining the promotion in 2019.
He alternated wins and losses in his first six Bellator bouts before he took on France’s Davy Gallon at Bellator 296 in Paris in May. The bout was a one-sided matchup, as Rogers dominated Gallon through the opening exchanges before locking up a D’Arce choke.
The fight looked all but done, and it was just a case of when Gallon would either tap, or nap. Unfortunately, a premature intervention by referee Jacob Montalvo meant we saw neither, as he waved off the fight and awarded the win to Rogers, only for an incensed Gallon to protest that he had neither tapped, nor gone unconscious.
It meant that the result was eventually overturned to a no-contest, wiping a win off Rogers’ record and costing him his win bonus.
“It was really frustrating,” Rogers told Fighters Only.
“I’ve had people in those submissions, and I know if they’re getting out or not. I must have had that submission on a million times, and I’m more than experienced to know whether I had it locked in or not. Against Davy, it was locked in. And the more I watch it, even the defense he was doing, it wasn’t the correct defense, it wasn’t the active defense.
“And he felt limp to me when the ref pulled him off. I wasn’t surprised, but obviously, when he popped straight up, I was surprised. But, how many times have we seen this? Did we not see this in the Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren fight, when Askren had him in that old-school bulldog headlock? The referee jumped in, pulled him off and Lawler was like, ‘Yo, I wasn’t out!’ but it still stood as a win.
“I’m not even that frustrated that they overturned it. I’m more frustrated that it got overturned afterward and I didn’t get my double money (win bonus).”
Rogers’ frustration is understandable. The Englishman was bossing the fight and, with a tight choke locked in with more than half of the round still remaining on the clock, it looked like he was mere seconds away from securing a decisive submission (or technical submission) victory.
It would seem that Rogers should have two logical paths forward from that fight: an immediate rematch with Gallon to produce a definitive result, or a fresh fight booking, on the basis that Rogers had effectively won the fight.
Currently, it seems that the former is looking unlikely.
“I was dominating him. It was a one-sided fight, and that’s why I’ve asked for the rematch, but I’ve heard absolutely nothing from Davy Gallon,” he said.
“He doesn’t want the rematch. He knows the referee’s absolutely done him a favor, you know what I’m saying? And he can just get away with not fighting me again.
“I spoke to my management, I’ve been trying to get on that Dublin card, because after my last fight, there’s only been a couple of Bellator events announced. One was in Chicago, and the other was in Dublin. So I was telling my manager, ‘I’m good. We didn’t even break a sweat in the last fight. Let’s rebook the same fight for Dublin,’ but I’m not hearing anything back in regard to Dublin.
“I’m being told October, so I’m not sure. I’m good to go, honestly. The Dublin card, literally any card that comes up, I’m good to go. I train every day, anyway, so I’m always good to go.”
After a stop-start career with Bellator to date, Rogers is keen to become a much more active fighter moving forward and, while he awaits his next assignment, he said he’s going to scratch his itch for competition on the mats to maintain that competitive edge.
“I think I’ve got two more on this contract with Bellator, but I want to be fighting two or three times this year,” he said.
“I want to be fighting three or four times a year, ideally. All these big layoffs between fights, it’s frustrating.
“I’m gonna take a few little grappling tournaments until I get a fight announced, just because winning a few of them is big for my gym, as well,” he said.
“But, in terms of fighting, I’m on my manager every week saying, ‘What’s happening?’ because I want to be fighting. Six months between fights… you need to strike while the iron is hot, you know? Waiting six months and this has been pushed back, it’s no good. I honestly want to be as active as I can.”