Undefeated heavyweight monster Brett “The Grim” Rogers (9-0) and welterweight (170 pound) powerhouse Joe “Diesel” Riggs (29-10) joined local stars Jesse Finney (3-0) and Pat Benson (2-5-2) for an open workout at Finney’s MMA/St. Louis Workout where they entertained a host of local media and fans on Wednesday, June 3, three days before their respective bouts on the star-studded Strikeforce: “Lawler vs. Shields” mixed martial arts (MMA) mega-card at Scottrade Center.
Four-time world champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock was also on hand to field questions from the press during the special pre-fight event.
All four fighters participating in the open workout demonstrated their wide array of combat skills while punching and kicking boxing mitts and Muay Thai pads and while grappling with training partners on the gym’s mats.
Here is what the fighters said:
“Back home, I’ve got family that is dependent on me and fans that are pulling for me. I’ve also got to represent Ambition MMA so I just got to go out there and do work. I’m not in this game for fun.”
On Andrei Arlovski, his opponent Saturday: “I used to watch him when I was in school, but I have to push that to the side and say, ‘You know what, I’m not a fan of Arlovski anymore. I can fight this guy. His chin is definitely getting weak. He kind of exposes himself. He likes to lead first and then come with the punch.
“This is going to be a great fight for me. I’ve said it before – I’m in the best shape of my life.”
“This is a fight that everyone around me has wanted for me for a long time. It never happened because we were always fighting for different promotions or in different weigh classes. Now, we are both fighting for Strikeforce, so it’s on.”
“I come from a boxing and kickboxing background so, for the last three to four months, I’ve been doing straight wrestling and grappling to work on my weaknesses. A part of me almost wants to be put on my back so I can show what I’ve got as far as jiu-jitsu and wrestling.”
“My opponent is 7-0 and supposed to be very athletic. I wanted to step things up in my hometown. This is probably going to be the biggest fight of my pro career.”
“I feel better than I have ever felt in years. My body is really healthy and I was supposed to fight on April 17, but we pushed the show back because Strikeforce announced that it was coming to town. So, I’ve been really training since the first of the year.”
“People don’t realize how big I am. I’m almost 6 foot 1 and walk around at around 200 pounds and I cut to 175.”
“I feel like Strikeforce has a second home in St. Louis. The fans are getting their money’s worth 10 times over. What we have going on here with all these fighters – when do you really get all guys of this caliber on a fight card? This is the first time these guys have come to St. Louis and once they make their mark on Saturday, I think Strikeforce will be here to stay.”
“Of the undercard fights, I think that every one of those fights could go the distance because they are good matchups.”
“We had a lot of educated, hardcore MMA fans out there today. One dude busted out a 20 year old magazine with me in it so that was pretty cool to see.”
“It’s definitely an “A” level card — blow out material. Everyone I’ve talked to is super-excited for it.”
The highly anticipated Lawler-Shields matchup will highlight an 11-fight card in the biggest, most significant MMA event in the history of the Gateway City.
Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale at the Scottrade Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com). Doors at the Scottrade Center will open at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The first non-televised preliminary bout will begin at 6:45 p.m.
A six-bout undercard featuring a top match between Rafael Feijao and Mike Kyle will also include a number of local stars including Finney and Tyron Woodley. It will precede a five-fight telecast on SHOWTIME (10 p.m., ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).