Combat sports are widely practiced in the Cayman Islands so it is no wonder that in only a couple of years existence the Rogue Gym on West Bay Road has become a beacon for enthusiasts of Muay Thai, kickboxing, grappling and boxing.
The Rogue Gym fighters staged another ‘smoker’ on Saturday and like the first six months earlier, it was a well received mix of exhibition and competitive bouts.
Rogue fighters took on brothers Bobby and Alex Daigle from the recently formed Cayman Kickboxing Academy in kickboxing matches and there were three exhibitions to keep the appreciative crowd happy as they consumed delicious pizzas from nearby XQ’s and CayBrew beer.
Kenny Dyrburgh (Rogue) was scheduled to take on Darwin Lanza (Cayman Kickboxing Academy) in the first bout but Lanza pulled out of the fight a few hours before the event.
Rogue instructor Grey Brett said: “We were able to find someone, Rob Mahadeo, on very short notice to do a boxing exhibition with Kenny to keep the paying guests happy. Special thanks to Rob for stepping up and helping us out.”
Rogue’s Juneau Barnett outpointed Alex Daigle by unanimous decision in a thriller and Dave O’Driscoll (Rogue) knocked out Bobby Daigle in the second round.
There were two kickboxing exhibitions between Rogue fighters, one between Flloyd Moxam and Jeffrey Jackson and the other featuring Garry Tierny and Ryan Charles.
Dryburgh did not fight Darwin Lanza as intended because Lanza’s trainer, Bob Daigle, pulled him out, worried that Dryburgh would be far heavier than the 135lbs Lanza. Dryburgh weighed 150lbs at fight time.
Brett said: “That fight was agreed upon almost two months ago at 145lbs. Kenny did what he needed to do to make weight. He did not “just” make weight as in Tuesday’s newspaper report, you either make weight or you don’t.
“Both fighters had the same amount of time to prepare and as of weigh-ins the night before, all coaches and fighters present, everyone was excited and looking forward to a fair match. It’s unfortunate that Darwin chose to pull out on the day of the event but I won’t let ride the suggestion protocol was not followed by Rogue, as earlier reports seem to indicate.
“With the extensive martial arts and boxing background in leadership of the opposing team, I find it shocking that they aren’t familiar with the requirements for making weight and the weigh-in process itself. However, I can accept that they thought better of their chances of a favourable outcome and decided to renege last minute. Fair enough.”
Overall though, Brett felt the event was a huge success. “The attendance was higher than the previous show and everyone seemed to have a great time.
“We received lots of compliments about the show and how smoothly it ran as well as the quality of the match-ups. The food from XQ’s was a crowd favourite and CayBrew kept everyone in a great mood.
“The fighters enjoyed the experience as they were able test their training and skill against some game opponents. Even though we had more exhibition matches than we originally expected, with some last minute scrambling, everyone involved had an opportunity to compete.
“For me, it was amazing to watch the team at Rogue come together and support one another. We have been training hard, trying to improve and growing as a team.
“Rogue fighters being victorious in both of their match ups was fantastic but we will go back to training knowing what we need to work and improve upon and expect our next showing to be a continuation of Saturday’s success.”
Asked if rematches are being planned, Brett says the Rogue fighters are looking further afield. “Our main focus will be to match up some of Rogue’s new fighters that have been training hard, making progress and looking forward to competing in future events.
“That is what is so great about the Rogue team and why more and more people are training with us, We are a deep team, constantly developing new talent. I had no doubt that Rogue fighters were going to win their match-ups from the day we agreed to them.”
Two weeks earlier, Brett brought over two world lightweight Muay Thai champions, Mickey Perez and Bruce Ong, from Toronto, for two seminars which were greatly appreciated by the Rogue fighters.
“We have officially partnered with Southside Muay Thai in Toronto and the relationship will allow us to hold more seminars in the future in both Cayman and Toronto. Mikey and Bruce had an amazing time and will be here again without question.
“The seminars helped us out tremendously. They gave us new things to think about, work and improve. They were an excellent addition to an already strong skill base.
“Although we won our fights, I noticed a lot of things that need to be reworked, developed and improved. We will go back to the gym, step up our training, make improvements and continue to become stronger with every session.”
Rogue’s high profile and busy schedule has made them a magnet for new recruits, which Brett is really pleased about. “We’ve had tremendous growth in recent weeks. The word is getting around that Rogue Gym offers the best martial arts programmes in Grand Cayman. We also have a few new and big announcements coming up which will further solidify this reputation. It’s an exciting time for us.
“We will be hosting another smoker before the end of the year and 2013 will be a great year for Rogue. We’ll have some big news to share very soon.”