Tag Archive for Huerta

Roger Huerta Returns to Bellator – Remember Him?

There was a brief moment in history when Roger Huerta was the center of the universe.

He was pushed by the UFC as their next big star. He was racking up wins in the Octagon. He was even featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated – a feat that was unheard by MMA fighters back in the day.

And then he fell off the face of the Earth.

Or, more aptly, he got into a contract dispute with the UFC, and you know how those go.

From there, Huerta couldn’t find wins to save his life. He lost in the UFC, he lost in Bellator, he lost everywhere, and ended up training and fighting in South East Asia, where ONE FC has been giving him paychecks to throw down in the cage.

Well, Bellator needed someone to face UFC refugee Benson Henderson in the main event of Bellator 196, so guess who’s back?

Henderson’s career has been in a godawful downward spiral, but in this match-up, Huerta just might have him beat in ability to find that “L” no matter what.

As per MMAFighting:

It’s not the original, announced main event. But MMA fans in Hungary will be getting a special treat next month.

Benson Henderson will meet the returning Roger Huerta in the headliner of Bellator 196 on April 6 in Budapest, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. James Gallagher, who was supposed to headline the card against Adam Borics, had to withdraw due to a hand injury and the bout was scrapped. Borics will remain on the card.

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Bellator 196 Gets New Main Event with Benson Henderson vs. Roger Huerta

Roger Huerta will return to the Bellator cage for the first time since 2010 when he meets Benson Henderson in the new Bellator 196 headliner.
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The MMA Hour with Chris Weidman, Donald Cerrone, Will Brooks, Roger Huerta, Cathal Pendred, Jeff Novitzky

The MMA Hour is back in your life. Below is a rundown of Monday’s show:

1:00 p.m. ET — UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will talk about fighting Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 and Anderson Silva’s NAC hearing last week.

1:25 p.m. — Roger Huerta will look ahead to his ONE Championship fight against Koji Ando on Sept. 1.

1:45 p.m. — Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks will discuss his title fight against Marcin Held on Nov. 6.

2:05 p.m. — Donald Cerrone will talk about his lightweight title fight against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 17 on Dec. 19.

2:25 p.m. — Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s VP of athlete health and performance, will discuss the organization’s new anti-doping efforts.

2:45 p.m. — Cathal Pendred will talk about…

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ONE FC 19 results recap: Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren earn quick stoppages, Roger Huerta dominates

“Reign of Champions” took place on pay-per-view (PPV) earlier this morning (Fri., Aug. 29, 2014) from inside Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

ONE FC entertained Dubai this morning (Fri., Aug. 29, 2014) with three title fights and multiple quality match ups, producing a thoroughly enjoyable fight card.

In the main event, Shinya Aoki defended his lightweight title with ease, scoring his twenty-fourth career submission win against UFC import Kamal Shalorus. Despite the Iranian’s impressive wrestling pedigree, Aoki got the takedown early, maneuvering near the cage. After a brief struggle due to the limited space, Aoki moved into mount, transitioning to the back soon after.

From there, it was academic, as he locked up the rear-naked choke and forced “The Prince of Persia” to tap. Twice, actually, since referee Yuji Shimada missed the first one.

Thanks to Zombie Prophet for the GIF.

In the co-main event, former Bellator champion Ben Askren earned the ONE FC welterweight belt with, if anything, even less trouble, dominating Nobutatsu Suzuki. Askren immediately shot in for a takedown and began relentlessly dropping punches, punishing the Japanese karateka until the referee mercifully stepped in.

See it to believe it.

One can only hope that this, his fourth straight stoppage, finally convinces the UFC brass to bring him in so he can actually be tested again.

The third title bout saw Mongolian standout Jadamba Narantungalag lift the promotion’s featherweight belt from Koji Oishi, who had no answer for Narantungalag’s relentless aggression. Despite landing some solid counters and wobbling Narantungalag at one point, Oishi was on his back foot all night, especially after his left eye began badly swelling following the second round.

On a brighter note, Roger Huerta finally snapped a four-fight losing streak, demolishing previously-unbeaten Englishman Christian Holley. Huerta’s takedowns were on point and, right when he hit half guard, things got violent. Taking advantage of ONE FC’s more lax rule set, “El Matador” battered Holley with knees from both half guard and side control, eventually forcing Holley to surrender his back. A few more heavy punches forced the referee to step in, giving Huerta his first win since 2010.

Watch the violent replay here.

For quick results and full play-by-play coverage of the morning’s proceedings, click here.

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Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta Added To ONE FC Card Featuring Ben Askren

The card for ONE FC: Reign of Champions continues to fill up, as lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will defend his title against Kamal Shalorus. Set for August 29, the event takes place from the Dubai World Trade Centre and features Ben Askren challenging for the welterweight title against Nobutatsu Suzuki. Other bouts announced include Roger […]

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Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta Added To ONE FC Card Featuring Ben Askren

The card for ONE FC: Reign of Champions continues to fill up, as lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will defend his title against Kamal Shalorus. Set for August 29, the event takes place from the Dubai World Trade Centre and features Ben Askren challenging for the welterweight title against Nobutatsu Suzuki. Other bouts announced include Roger […]

The post Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta Added To ONE FC Card Featuring Ben Askren appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Roger Huerta joins Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren at ONE FC 19 in Abu Dhabi

Like Obi Wan said, “Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time…”

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans haven’t seen former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight (and part-time street fighter) Roger Huerta for over two years. Probably because it took him that long to wake up from one of the nastiest soccer kicks in the history of the sport (see it again here).

But time heals all wounds.

The 31-year-old Huerta (21-7-1, 1 NC), just 1-6 over his last seven, has been paired off against undefeated newcomer Christian Holley (10-0) at the upcoming ONE FC 19 event, scheduled for August 29, 2014 at Dubai’s World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

That’s not all.

Joining “El Matador” is lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, who puts his strap on the line against former UFC 155-pound contender Kamal Shalorus. “Reign of Champions” is headlined by former Bellator welterweight kingpin Ben Askren, as he tangles with international superstar Nobutatsu Suzuki.

To see the current ONE FC 19: “Reign of Champions” fight card and line up click here.

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Roger Huerta vs. Christian Holley highlights latest additions to ONE FC 19

A trio of bouts have been officially added to ONE Fighting Championship’s upcoming quadruple-header, including the return of onetime UFC standout Roger Huerta.

Huerta (21-7-1, 1 NC), a lightweight who currently serves as head wrestling coach at Tiger Muay Thai in Phunket, Thailand, has been out of competition since suffering a brutal second-round knockout loss via soccer kick to Zorobabel Moreira in June 2012. Counting the Moreira loss, Huerta holds just a 1-6 record over his last seven contests.

“It woke me up. I’ll be honest,” the 31-year-old told MMAFighting.com of the slump last year. “I blame myself. … I don’t want to say I was self-destructive, but I just didn’t care for my well-being, I suppose. I was just doing things to do them.”

Having turned around his life, Huerta now returns to challenge undefeated newcomer Christian Holley (10-0) at ONE FC 19. The Englishman is a formidable finisher, having ended seven of his 10 victories inside the first round.

ONE FC 19 is scheduled to take place August 29, 2014 at Dubai’s World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates. Four championship bouts headline the event, including the return of ONE FC lightweight titleholder Shinya Aoki and the sophomore showing of former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.

Also newly announced for the card are match-ups between former WBO boxing champion Ana Julaton vs. Irina Mazepa (0-0), and featherweights Herbert Burns (3-0) vs. Hiroshige Tanaka (10-1).

An updated ONE FC 19 fight card can be seen below.

  • Nobutatsu Suzuki vs. Ben Askren (welterweight title)
  • Shinya Aoki vs. Kamal Shalorus (lightweight title)
  • Koji Oishi vs. TBA (featherweight title)
  • TBA vs. TBA (vacant middleweight title)
  • Roger Huerta vs. Christian Holley
  • Ana Julaton vs. Irina Mazepa
  • Herbert Burns vs. Hiroshige Tanaka

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In Paradise: Roger Huerta finds peace halfway across the world

It’s 11:03 a.m. in Phuket, Thailand, and Roger Huerta is thinking about the water. Green palm trees sway lazily in the breeze, scattered in tight bunches across the nearly three-acre landscape at Tiger Muay Thai. Huerta shields the sun’s rays with his hands, waves goodbye to one of his students then checks the time. Four hours before the next class, give or take. Kata Beach is only a 16-minute motorbike ride away. Plenty of time. This is paradise, after all.

Huerta deposits his sweat stained gi, then leans back and recalls his latest day trip off the northwestern Strait of Malacca, where limestone cliffs raise high above coral vistas. “Phi Phi Island is one of the most beautiful and exotic coasts I’ve ever seen,” he says.

“It’s just amazing. You take a ferry from town, one of those big boats; to get over there is just two hours. The water is so clear, so beautiful and so welcoming. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful there.”

Huerta smiles as the crystal waves dance throughout his thoughts. Last May, Huerta turned 30. It’s a weird number for him to consider. Years ago, when he was UFC’s next big thing, a Sports Illustrated coverboy equal parts handsome and ferocious, the supposed key to unlocking the Latin American market, praise and expectations were partners in his day-to-day, and 30 seemed like a far off venue.

Everything would be figured out by the time he reached that mark, Huerta promised himself. He’d be able to live life how he wanted. The kid who worked from childhood to adulthood, would no longer have to work to live. To Huerta, that was the most important.

And in a way, everything went according to plan. Even if it didn’t really.

These days Huerta is somewhat of a forgotten man; a ‘where are they now,’ half due to circumstance, and half due to his desire to simply escape it all. Though it’s true, the two were, at times, one in the same.

Huerta first ventured to Thailand’s shores in 2009. He can’t exactly remember why, but after passing on a lucrative UFC contract to pursue an acting career, Huerta just knew he craved something different.

He ended up training kickboxing in the thick Thai jungle and thrived. All those old neuroses, little things like checking a cell phone every five minutes, they dissolved into the warm tropical air. The serenity relived a weight he didn’t know he shouldered.

Huerta returned the following February. He stayed in the region for six months, traveling everywhere he could between fights. Thailand, Singapore, Bali, even Australia; no matter where he went, Huerta toured by day, then soaked in the local culture by night. For an abandoned child raised on western spite, the lifestyle felt dreamlike, wrested straight from the pages of Thoreau, and Huerta fell in love with it.

Eventually, after a 2:00 a.m. nightclub incident in Houston went viral overnight, and the TMZ crowd crowned “El Matador” a reluctant anti-bullying folk hero, Huerta decided it was time. He packed everything up and moved halfway across to the world, adopting Phuket’s coastal stillness as his new home.

“I don’t know why,” he says. “I guess I just felt more free out here. In the States I just felt I had,” Huerta pauses, “Pressure.

“Everyone knew me as this fighter that could be really great. I could become a great UFC champion. And that pressure, to me, was too much. It was everywhere. My friends, my family, everybody in the UFC. Everyone said, ‘You can be really great at this.’ I just felt like being a fighter wasn’t my whole life. It didn’t complete me. Obviously there’s going to be a cost to that.”

Huerta felt that realization creep on slowly. Over time, it consumed him.

Still, he admits, there was a chapter in his life when he wanted to be the world’s best. Fighting came natural. It was an outlet to channel the leftover rage of his younger days.

Huerta’s parents split when he was young, and soon after, his mother Lydia became abusive. The bruises on his body eventually landed Roger in a foster home. Lydia lost the resulting custody battle, but abducted Roger and bolted to El Salvador, abandoning Roger on his grandparents’ door step in the midst of a countrywide civil war. Dangers along the war-torn streets were a daily worry, until Lydia returned less than a year later. This time she abandoned her child on the doorstep of his drug addict father, Rogelio, in Texas. Roger never again saw his mother.

Rogelio, like Lydia, dumped Roger on his impoverished grandparents. As a small child, Roger sold trinkets on the side of Mexican roads, hoping to coax meal money out of sympathetic tourists. Rogelio reclaimed Roger the following year, but eventually he too skipped town, and his wife, Roger’s abusive stepmother, threw the discarded teenager out on the Texas streets. There a local gang leader and drug dealer, Joel, took him under his wing. An unlikely savior, Joel supplied Roger with clothes and school supplies and convinced him to pursue an education, which led Roger to meet Jo Ramirez, the high school teacher who ultimately adopted the troubled boy.

After surviving a such tragic upbringing, fighting became something Huerta could make his own.

Once Huerta grasped his ability, he worked tirelessly to hone it. The UFC targeted Huerta as a potential crossover star, offering him a rare slow-build treatment instead of throwing him to the wolves. UFC President Dana White called Huerta a “dream come true.” And by his own acknowledgement, Huerta refused to think of anything else. He didn’t go out, he didn’t drink, he didn’t have a girlfriend. The pressure swelled into rolling boil, and Huerta simply worked. Everyday, nonstop. Even atop the MMA world, he was, in his own words, a machine. Slowly, it took its toll.


It’s June 23, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Roger Huerta is crawling on all fours. The world is fuzzy, and with a flash, the shinbone of Zorobabel Moriera collapses it into black. One ultraviolent image. Huerta crumples, outstretched; a bloody, unconscious heap adorning the canvas.

It’s Huerta’s sixth loss in seven fights. This time he didn’t even try. He trained for two weeks, if you could call it that. A two-mile jog in the morning, then some light pad work in the afternoon. That was it. The culmination of a slow decay of his own well-being.

Huerta hasn’t fought since.

“It woke me up. I’ll be honest,” he says in a low voice. “I blame myself.”

‘Everyone knew me as this fighter that could become a great UFC champion. And that pressure, to me, was too much.’

The demons that began years before in the U.S. had followed Huerta to Thailand. At first, he was still a name. Bellator lauded its signing of the American. Huerta was to be a star. Again things didn’t pan out, then UWF did the same. ONE FC followed. With each passing defeat, Huerta’s desire shook. He began to barely resemble his old self.

“At first, all I had in my mind was to be the best,” Huerta says. “If that’s all you’re thinking about, you’re not thinking about anything else. You’re not thinking about anybody else in the world. But I just didn’t want to be that anymore. I needed to get away from it.

“I don’t want to say I was self-destructive, but I just didn’t care for my well-being, I suppose. I was just doing things to do them.”

Huerta’s relevance gradually faded. He walked Thailand’s streets, torn between the natural beauty and pervasive poverty that surrounded him. Homeless children peddled trinkets on the side of road, just like that parentless little boy used to do in Mexico, and fighting felt small. A chore, rather than a lifestyle. Huerta lost focus, his mind drifted to dangerous recesses.

“He fought four or five times in a row injured,” recalls Tiger Muay Thai head MMA coach Brian Ebersole. “It’s like, what are you doing? He’d say, ‘Well, I don’t want to let them down.’”

When asked, Huerta just sighs. “I started thinking about my opponent’s family. I started thinking about the guy who has to win to feed his family and pay his rent. You can’t think that way as a fighter. If he wins, he’ll really help out his future. I’m okay with that. And I shouldn’t be, because I’m supposed to be competing and being the best. Right?”

The question plagued Huerta up until the moment Moriera soccer kicked him into darkness.

Within days, the .gif made the internet rounds. Huerta’s unconscious body splattered across the ONE FC cage, posted and reposted on every forum or blog even vaguely related to MMA. Onlookers squealed, some in horror and some in morbid delight. Huerta watched the replay, then watched it again. It must’ve been a bizarre sight. Hollywood-like violence inflicted on a man vaguely familiar, but the memory long faded.

At some point, Huerta says, something clicked.

“I snapped out of it.”


It’s 8:31 p.m. in Phuket, Thailand, and Coach Huerta is wrapping up the last class of the day. A dark blue rash guard clutches tightly to his skin, as a room full of fighters say their goodbyes and wearily trudge towards the door. Last winter Huerta became an assistant MMA instructor at Tiger Muay Thai. Mornings are jiu-jitsu. Nighttime is no-gi. Monday and Friday afternoons are sparring, Tuesday and Thursdays are American wrestling, and Wednesday is technique.

It’s rewarding work, Huerta says; a chance for him to give back to the sport that gave him so much. He trains and teaches. He stares at the rumbling ocean waves and allows his mind to wander. Tiger Muay Thai provides housing and meal plans. The beach and the mats provide his escapes. Plus, Ebersole adds, “The girls are pretty much taken with him.”

It’s a simple life; the one Huerta always wanted, even if he never knew it.

“I think, before, I wasn’t proud of my accomplishments,” Huerta says. “But man, looking back, I worked really, really hard to put myself in that situation. I had to fight so much. I’m proud of those moments.

“Seeing where I came from at a young age, being in that situation where I’m a little kid working in Mexico, I never pictured that kid being a professional athlete, being on the cover of SI one day.

“I’m grateful, man,” Huerta continues. “I was grateful being in the UFC. I was grateful for what I had done there. That helped me so much. It gave me a sense of freedom. The sport of MMA itself helped me have that freedom. I love that, and I just feel grateful and thankful.”

Once, in a past life, Huerta strove to finish a bachelors degree in business management. Several of his friends did the same. All besides Huerta landed in monotone office jobs; new devotees to America’s 60-hour work week, since 40 is never enough to give oneself the lifestyle one deserves. Whatever that means.

Perhaps Huerta would’ve been happy there. He doubts it, though. After all, he’d just be working to live. And he promised himself he wouldn’t do that.

Huerta can’t name a favorite moment from his glory days. He isn’t the keeper of a vast memorabilia stash and he doesn’t own a copy of his infamous SI cover, though he’s sure Ramirez has one somewhere. Moms always do. But the fact that Huerta has embraced those flashes is progress enough. They’re as much a part of his story as anything else.

“I think he’s moved on from the reasons for fighting that he had when he was younger,” Ebersole says of his friend.

“When you’re young, you just kind of fight because it’s the next thing to do. It’s always when are you fighting next, next, next. The ‘what have you done for me lately.’ He’s had a mental shift in his life.”

Call it a product of turning 30. Call it a product of uncovering a new passion. Hell, call it a product of watching your lowest moment replayed into jeering infinity. But these days Huerta barely resembles the man who buried himself so low.

“You can’t live life for tomorrow,” he says. It’s an old cliché, but it’s one Huerta is fond of. And despite it’s hackneyed significance, it’s true. Anything can happen. “I could drive my minibike into an accident today and I won’t be around anymore. If you’re done, you’re done.”

Huerta isn’t ready to say he’s retired. He has a standing contract with ONE FC, and he casually suggests he could be back as soon as December if he stays healthy. The date, though, seems anything but firm.

The truth is, even Huerta isn’t sure what comes next.

“I don’t know. Honestly,” Huerta says. He pauses to take a long breath. “I don’t know and I’m alright with that.

“Honestly man, I’m not indebted to anything or anyone. When I was in the UFC, I had to pay off student loans, I mortgaged my home, I had phones, credit cards, everything. I’m not playing catch up now. I’m not trying to catch up to anything. That, in itself, I get to appreciate.

“The benefits are living in paradise,” he finishes with a chuckle. “I’m happy with that.”

It’s funny, the way life plays out. There was a time when Huerta worried deeply about his future. It consumed him. The troubled kid from the broken home trapped himself under the self-enforced weight of the world. He questioned whether he pushed hard enough, then pushed harder, even though it never did him any good.

Now despite it all, he carries no regrets. His path has been organic. However wobbly the turns may have been, they all lead him here. To the beaches of Phunket, to the mats of Tiger Muay Thai, to a life of freedom. To happiness.

“There’s some things in this world that you cannot control. You just can’t,” Huerta smiles.

“The world is beautiful. At the same time, it’s cruel. It keeps you down. You just can’t let that happen.”

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Gotta Pay The Bills: Roger Huerta Endorses ‘Alpha Nail.’

(“It is a statement… a proclamation of the inner attitude of the alpha. It is about having the confidence that says ‘I am my own man, and will decide the rules for how I live my life according to how I see fit.” )

There are times, ‘taters, when we don’t have to put our own stamp on a post about something in pop culture that touches on the fight world in order to make it humorous.

This is one of those times.

Here’s what makes this relevant to CP – Former top UFC lightweight Roger Huerta once gave up MMA to pursue modeling and acting. He eventually returned to the sport, but not the UFC, and hasn’t been able to recreate the same success he initially he did. No shame in that and he’s not done yet if he doesn’t want to be.

But we’re fine with saying that just a tad of shame might be in order for his newest product endorsement – Alpha Nail nail polish marketed to men. Their marketing seems pretty strong (using images the fit, good looking Huerta surrounded by women while his nails, wow look at that, happen to be painted with polish) until digging deeper shows how sad it is (claims that it will make getting girls easier, ‘peacocking’ tips, etc.).

As they mention, many guys that don’t actually endorse the product, like Chuck Liddell, rock guitarist Dave Navarro and mother flipping Zac Efron (!!) paint their nails. So…you should, too. After the jump, check out the very helpful instructional video by MMA fighter Nick Gonzalez, incredible user testimonials, replete with their own douchebag lingo that takes some time to decipher and more images of cool guys being manly with nail polish on.

And, oh yeah, reason number three of why you should use Alpha Nail. Hint, it will help you have intercourse with females. Guaranteed.

Nail Polish Application and Removal Video Tutorial:

Click here for more amazing testimonials like this one:

“Went out last weekend with a few buddies who are typical AFCs to try my hand at the now famous Austin, TX scene. I was in my normal mode but I recently acquired some cool new matte nail polish colors from AlphaNail. Normally I’ll sarge on chicks with various opening strategies but this time, something was a little different. Because of the taboo of men wearing nail polish, girls were actually approaching ME and using MY nails as THEIR opener. I quickly turned it around and made them instantly bond to my confidence regarding wearing the polish and most ended up revealing to me that they actually think nail polish is sexy on a man. I closed on a HB8 and 3 more # closes. I’m going to try their metallics next as I feel that will take it to the next level.”

- Elias Cepeda