(Who could forget Roger’s haunting performance as Edward Wooferhands? Image courtesy of Orion Car Audio.)
Shocking news from Sherdog: UFC lightweight star Roger Huerta has turned down a five-fight contract extension in order to pursue a career in acting and modeling. "El Matador" has one more fight on his current contract, which he plans to fulfill sometime this year, and may eventually return to the UFC. But for the time being, his interests lie elsewhere:
Though Huerta built his name in the UFC with five straight victories in 2007, his only Octagon appearance last year was his decision loss to Kenny Florian at UFC 87 in August. One reason for the lack of cage activity was the layoff he took to be in the video-game-to-movie adaptation Tekken (out this fall), in which he plays Miguel "El Matador" Rojo. Huerta’s new three-movie development deal with Lion’s Gate films could keep him busy in the future, but for the time being, Huerta plans to supplement his income with appearances and seminars while he takes acting classes. Sherdog also reveals that Huerta turned down a fight against Joe Stevenson at UFC 95 (February 21st, London) due to "personal family issues"; Stevenson will instead take on Diego Sanchez in the card’s main event.
Kudos, I guess, to Roger for chasing his dream, but he may be deluding himself if he thinks "the fighting will always be there." Quitting his life as a full-time mixed martial artist for a few years means he’ll be starting from scratch if/when he decides to return to the UFC — both in terms of his development as a fighter and his place on the lightweight ladder. Liddell and Couture are exceptions to the rule that fighting is a young man’s game; you can’t assume that your prime as an athlete begins at age 30.