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Huerta Turns Down UFC Contract Extension to Pursue Acting and Modeling

(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:

“I saw that you have to dedicate as much as you do to training for a fight as you do for an acting role and I’m intrigued by that. I’m 25 years old. I see Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture and they didn’t really hit their primes till their thirties. I’m only going to be young so long and I know that movies and agencies and what not want the young look…
Pursuing the modeling and acting thing, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. The fighting will always be there. I’ll always have that in me. The truth is I’ve been fighting my whole life for everything, and this to me, is something else.”

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. 

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Anonymous- February 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm
it's not fair to criticize him for taking this fight. i'm sure he's thinking about his future financial security because your career as a fighter is only limited to so many years and ufc fighters dont make enough money to live off of for the rest of their lives. i'll bet we're going to see alot of broke former ufc stars in 10-20 years. anyway, right now he can make more money on a film set than in a cage.
where's-my-redbull?- January 12, 2009 at 6:02 am
it always amazes me how little 90% of the UFC fighters get paid... but, for fans, thats good, because the money gets put back into the company, making sure theres alot of fights. to make alot of $$$ in the UFC, you need ,,,A-to fight often and B- to demolish the people you fight. its a simple equation. affliction pays higher, but does a show every 6 months..... so, i dont blame Huerta even a little bit. he's 1-1 in fights against tough competition. the Guida fight was one of my favorites of that year, and he showed alot of heart squeaking out a win, and Florian owned him. it's allllllllllllllll about the Benjamin's.
Lodz- January 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm
So Huerta was a prissy little peacock all along?
Hornyhobo- January 10, 2009 at 2:16 am
I guess he wants to do more with his life, seeing as he's really really extremely good looking.
Crittino- January 10, 2009 at 1:55 am
For every Randy or Chuck out there, there's a 44 year old Ken Shamrock getting his ass kicked.
dirtyturd- January 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm
This is the best move he can possibly make, as a fighter he was good, had a nice streak but come on he was truly never the poster child of mma as some mags made him out to be. He had some good showing but Kenflo killed it for him as Kenflo will do to anyonee standing in his way. He is an image and nothing more which is exactly what HollyWood is all about.
Senor Tampon- January 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm spic brother...i will miss you
Kaibo- January 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm
I loved this guy so much. Fuck this shit. He's a sellout, I never want to see him compete again.
Anonymous- January 9, 2009 at 11:54 am
Stop hating on Roger Huerta. This kid literally grew up fighting because he was physically abused by his parents, step parents, and other people. If you had seen the special UFC did on him, it probably would have brought a tear to your eye to see the shit he's been through.

I say kudos to him for chasing his dreams and wanting more to life than fighting. Don't get me wrong, I love watching great UFC/Pride/etc fights, but I won't hate on a guy for having other interests. We've already seen him in the cage as a great fighter. We should wish him well as he progresses to the next stage in his life.

Jason G- January 9, 2009 at 11:02 am
Don't hate on him. He just knows B.J. is his daddy. It would be a small LW division if more realized this though.
Bootylam!- January 9, 2009 at 10:51 am
And yours very homophobic. What's homo about the truth? If you think about it too long ALL of MMA can seem homocentric. All this talk of being naked in the rear, taking a guy's back, mounting him, choking a guy off... I mean out, the body shaving, it goes on and on. Why worry about what seems gay?
Anonymous- January 9, 2009 at 10:48 am
$10 says he's back in a few months!

Kadumel- January 9, 2009 at 10:25 am
Ew Bootylam... That was a very homoerrotic statement you just made...
Bootylam!- January 9, 2009 at 10:23 am
Huerta's right to do it this way. He needs to do it while he's still pretty. MMA isn't the place to be if you need to stay easy on the eyes. Hell, most of the guys are butt ugly before they even start fighting.
Lysol- January 9, 2009 at 10:11 am
Roughly 70 years ago, in the NFL, the first ever draft pick never played a down because he got a job in real estate and realized he could make more money doing that.

It'll be interesting to look back at this 70 years from now as well, assuming XARM doesn't wipe out MMA.
Rogers Head- January 9, 2009 at 9:31 am
Roger is going bald. He better get himself a transplant if he plans on saving his "good looks".
Old, Bald and Irish- January 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

Pull a 'Cung Li' you say? Huerta is doing EXACTLY what Cung is doing. Cung hasn't fought since he smashed 'Shammy. You know why? He's doing movies full time. Just like Roger. Don't expect to see Cung back in the ring until at least 2010. Seriously. He's got something like 4 films lined up and he's working on Yuen Woo Ping's (fight director for "The Matrix", "Crouching Tiger") latest directorial effort in Hong Kong.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cung doesn't fight professionaly again. Too bad. He's awesome in the ring and seems like a cool dude.
Scrambled Eggs- January 9, 2009 at 9:07 am
Good for Roger. He's going to make more $ as a bit actor, without killing himself. Win-win for him, so long as he doesn't crave a spotlight. Anyone who doesn't hope for the best for this guy is just selfish.
Anonymous- January 9, 2009 at 9:00 am
where's the picture of him in a chicken suit????
Greg Kelly- January 9, 2009 at 8:48 am
Tekken is going to be sooooo awesome! It's starring Cung Le as "Marshall Law" and Jevon Miller as "Angry Fighter Reject!"

I'm a douche.
Higgz- January 9, 2009 at 8:30 am
He has Tito Ortiz Syndrome.
Jay Smith- January 9, 2009 at 7:55 am
That's the one thing boxing still has over MMA. It's ability to pay top contenders multi-millions for fights with other top contenders. I don't think more than 1 or 2 guys have actually made more than 1 million dollars for a fight. I can only think of 1, and I'm not 100% sure about that (The Natural? And that included bonuses). In my opinion, the Huerta/Florian fight should have easily brought them both close to a mil at least, but didn't. Have you seen Dana's and Lorenzo's houses??? C'mon guys, it's time to share the wealth before all you become is a stepping stone to make guys recognizable to people that are willing to pay more money for easier and less work which, is gonna totally fuck up the " one-dimensional animals locked in a cage" sport that I've come to know and love.
kazanski- January 9, 2009 at 7:40 am
The dude is to small to even be a womans model. One loss and he runs away. What is he going to do when he doesnt get a role he auditions for?
armfarmer- January 9, 2009 at 7:36 am
After getting schooled by guida for 2 1/2 rounds and getting stomped by kenflo he probably realized that he isn't as good as his hype and will never fight for a title.
cleanshirt- January 9, 2009 at 7:33 am
that's pretty cool, good luck to huerta - it's hard to remember that MMA fighters are people and not just one-dimensional animals locked in a cage for our amusement....Even though playing your first role as dimensional animal locked in a cage for our amusement probably won't help you "bust out" of the typecast all that well. Oh well, there's always Newsies II ^^ haha.