levasseurvsbrackettFor young men and women starting an MMA career, the journey is long and perilous, with that destination of elite-level stardom years and years away for a hopeful few. However, for those older fighters; well removed from their prime and with no grand goal looming on the horizon, the journey itself becomes the destination. In a way, the fight game becomes something more sacred and ceremonious than wins and losses, that time in the gym and walk to the cage having connotations beyond far-flung stardom, but touches on ideas close to home and heart.

“I started fighting in 2003. I went to an MMA event in Taunton and was like ‘I can do this. Sign me up!’ 3 years later I was the WFL heavyweight champ.” Roger Brackett shares, talking about the unregulated world of “Old school MMA” in New England.

“I was champ for 3 years. I fought because it kept me on the right path in life; training was my passion. I would roof all day then go home, shower, then off to training.”

As the local scene changed and the competition grew stiffer, Brackett would see himself surpassed on the local scene, and with those UFC dreams out of reach, he had to reevaluate his situation. Heeding the advice of friends and family, Brackett hung up the gloves just shy of 40 years old, but old habits die hard. Three years later, he’d contact his old stomping grounds at Cage Titans, and Mike Polvere was happy to have him on board.

“I am getting pretty old for the sport now, but this is what I love, so I told myself ‘now or never’ Brackett commented on his unlikely return to professional athletics at the age of 43. “I told myself I’d do 3 more fights, and in November I had my first one. I won in 1min 8 sec. The old man’s still got it!”

With anything beyond local stardom out of the question for the elder fighter, his motivation is now as close to home as it gets. While Cage Titans will be another sold out show, for Brackett it might as well be a two person audience.

“I wanted my two sons, Bryce and Brady, to see me fight. They were so proud off their old man.”
Opposite Brackett on April 9th will be another lion with gray in his mane and late start in the sport, yet no less hungry for a win.

“I got into martial arts as an adult. The sports that were available when I was a kid didn’t interest me. I saw the old UFCs in the 90s and had no idea how to get into anything like that but it left an impression as the most incredible thing I have ever seen.” Said Joe Levasseur, who faces Roger Brackett at Cage Titans 28.

“I found BJJ when I was in Sao Paulo Brazil, visiting friends a while back. I was looking for a place to lift weights and all the gyms had a jiu-jitsu black belt teaching classes there. I just jumped in and immediately fell in love with the sport. I found a place to train as soon as I got back home, and BJJ lead into MMA.”

LeVasseur would only fight twice in a five year span, yet the time in the cage would have a profound impact on the 35 year old BJJ purple belt.

“My motivation for fighting is a few different things. For one, I feel like I have come so far with my skill and my training that I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t fight; if I didn’t compete. I want to be able to look back and be proud of my career in MMA when I’m done. There is something about being in the cage that nothing else compares to. When the door shuts and the ref tells you to fight, it’s an amazing feeling of peace. Nothing else in the world matters; it’s just you and one other guy.”

Whether it be for that peace in the maelstrom of combat, or the shining eyes of children watching their father achieve greatness, their respective paths cross in Plymouth, Massachusetts on April 9th.

~ Mike Hammersmith

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