January 6, 1962 - April 13, 2015
WEDNESDAY, April 22nd, 2015, AT 9:40 AM/ PST
Remembers The Rock!
If you search for any news about Kevin Rosier's passing over the last week, all you read are headlines such as "One of the first men to set foot in a cage to participate in no holds barred combat has passed". It seems like the media only want him to be remembered as a veteran pioneer of MMA. However, Kevin didn't make his name in MMA. Kevin made his name as a Professional Kickboxer who once done had a "combined" career record (Amateur & Pro) of *66-8 with all 66 of his wins coming by way of KO/TKO. Not to mention the number of titles he won which included...
On April 14, 2015 in
Murfreesboro, Tennessee at only 53 years old,
He was not just a fighter in the ring though. He was a military veteran who spent much of his early years living in upstate New York. He began his martial arts training at the Boys Club in East Aurora, New York. He earned his first black belt from Sensei William James Gallant. Since then, he traveled the world fighting in martial arts and professional boxing tournaments. All the while Rosier was working as a bodyguard for entertainers like Rick James, Billy Idol and Debbie Harry. Nightclubs like Studio 54, Limelight and CBGB frequently retained his services as a bouncer. As a Professional Kickboxer Kevin was no small fighter. Standing 6'4" and weighing in at about 285 lbs he came to the ring with a lot of power.
As noted above, many remember Kevin for his appearance in 1993 in the very first -original- UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 12, 1993. In his first MMA bout he faced and defeated Zane Frazier by TKO at 4:20 of round number 1 in the first round of the Tournament. In round 2 of the tournament he was defeated by French Savate/Samboo Champion Gerard Gordeau of Amsterdam, Holland. Gordeau went on to lose to Royce Gracie by submission. Although he was not a big champion in mma, he clearly was in Kickboxing. Sadly people remember him as an mma fighter, but SHOULD remember him as a Champion Kickboxer instead.
In his travels he trained with the best in the world, earning multiple high-degree black belts and red sashes in a variety of styles. He was always one of those fighters who would accept a fight under any rule style, any time. From Karate to MMA, Boxing to Kickboxing, Rosier fought it all.
Sadly, Kevin's later years were not so good to him. He had been suffering from longtime health problems, and the complications of a lifetime spent in combat sports.
However, more so, this is the kind of guy Kevin was to
those around him...
"Rosier was the first fighter to arrive at the UFC After Party, and he was wearing a circa-1975 tux, complete with huge flower cumberbund. He looked as joyous as if he had won the tournament and greeted Davie with a huge hug. "He then proclaimed he was my long-lost son, and that now he was going to call me "Dad." Rosier then excused himself, and said he wanted to go looking for John McCarthy, so that he could challenge him to a pizza-eating contest. There's no word on who won that pizza-eating contest, but Rosier went on to fight six more MMA bouts from 1994 to 2000. Between 1989 and 2001 he had 25 professional boxing matches as well. Another pioneering MMA promoter, Monte Cox, recalled his experiences with Rosier in a post on The Underground Forum: Kevin fought for me twice back in 1998, taking on Dan Severn. After the first loss in 53 seconds, Kevin came to my room where I was talking with John Perretti. Kevin says "OK, he out-wrestled me. If I gotta go to the Miletich school and learn wrestling for a week or two I will do it." Peretti and I laughed and John said, "Let's see, Severn is a collegiate All-American and Olympic alternate who has been wrestling for about 30 years yep, I'd say a week or two at the most." Kevin began working on his takedown defense and called me to fight Severn again. He swore he would do better, and he did, lasting 7 more seconds. Afterwards, he said "Monte, you had to see the improvement, right?"
From all of us here at the IKF, we know you are resting well now Champ... Because as we all know... You're one of God's Champions now..."
PREVIOUS KEVIN ROSIER NEWS...
January 15th, 2008,
By the time many associated with the IKF saw him fight, he was not at his best. Being stopped by "Mean" Mike Labree back in May of 1999. Rosier and Labree kicked off a Nationwide LIVE PPV event called "MASS DESTRUCTION". Their bout was for the vacant IKF Pro Full Contact Rules Super Heavyweight title. Rosier of Buffalo, New York, USA entered the fight with a record of 36-4 with 36 KO's and Labree of Roscoe, Illinois, USA met him with a record of 50-2 with 42 KO's. It would have been better to see these two meet in their prime. Rosier came in heavier than had ever fought which played a part in his endurance.
However LaBree came in trimmed up and ready to Rumble. The two went toe to toe for 9 rounds exchanging blow after blow. At 26 seconds into round 10, LaBree caught Rosier with a short left to the head and Rosier went down to his knees. At that point, referee Jon Schorle put a stop to the bout even though it appeared that Rosier was more tired than hurt. Rosier respectfully accepted Schorle's decision. There was talk of a rematch but it never happened.
After that event the future of these two took different paths, but one path they took was the same. Neither were paid for that fight when Promoters Scott Haddad and Phil Malonson stiffed everyone. You can read all about it by clicking HERE. The result of this event put into place the IKF's new rule for Pro Promoters where all purses need to be paid before the fight happens in Cash or Cashiers Checks. This new rule prevented such a thing from ever happening again on an IKF Sanctioned event.
Labree went on to defend his title in what was to be his retirement fight on February 3rd, 2001 in Hayward, Wisconsin where he won with a 3rd round TKO over number 1 contender, George Randolph of Glenville, West Virginia, USA. After the fight Labree Voluntarily Retired his title and from kickboxing at the age of 38. However, in September, 2007, LaBree came out of retirement and knocked out Milwaukee's Horace "The Real Deal" Croft in the third round of a scheduled seven-round main event. This fight was LaBree's second since ending a five-year retirement. Labree has announced he wants a shot at another Kickboxing title, but no formal plans have been made. Who knows, maybe we will see a Rosier-Labree "2"?
As for Kevin, life taught him a lot after the fight as he faced ups in downs in his personal life that found him dealing with various issues. However, as of today, Kevin in a way has, "Found himself" again. He's back living in Buffalo New York and trying to give back to others, teaching martial arts. As he reflects back he is gracious for what life has delt him in his past as well as his present. Few here really know what Kevin Rosier has accomplished over his career so lets take a look back.
Kevin began his martial arts training at the Boys Club in East Aurora, New York. He earned his first black belt from Sensei William James Gallant. Since then, he traveled the world fighting in martial arts and professional boxing tournaments and amassed an impressive professional kickboxing record. As a Professional Kickboxer Kevin was no small fighter. Standing 6'4" and weighing in at about 285 lbs he came to the ring with a lot of power. His career record (Amateur & Pro) was 66-8 with all 66 of his wins coming by way of KO/TKO.
Many remember Kevin for his apperance in 1993 in the very first -original- UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 12, 1993.
In his first MMA bout he faced and defeated Zane Frazier by TKO at 4:20 of round number 1 in the first round of the Tournament.
In round 2 of the tournament he was defeated by French Savate/Samboo Champion Gerard Gordeau of Amsterdam, Holland. Gordeau went on to lose to Royce Gracie by submission.
Although he was not a big champion in mma, he clearly was in Kickboxing. Sadly people remember him as an mma fighter, but SHOULD remember him as a Champion Kickboxer instead.
In his travels he trained with the best in the world, earning multiple high-degree black belts and red sashes in a variety of styles.
Kevin was always one of those fighters who would accept a fight under any rule style, any time. From Karate to MMA, Boxing to Kickboxing, Rosier fought it all. in fact, in a recent phone conversation with Kevin, he said he would love to fight again. He says he's in far better shape then the "Mass Destruction" event, and is hungry to jump back in the ring again. So if LaBree is serious, who knows, maybe we will see that Rosier Vs LaBree "2" after all.
His passion for the sport is still as strong as ever. So strong that he expressed to Fossum of his interest to fight again. Fossum asked him Why? NOT because Fossum didn't think he would do well, but instead, as Fossum explained,
"With a background and history such as Kevin's, What does he have to prove to ANYONE? Kevin was one of the Pioneers of this sport that EVERYONE should look up to. EVERYONE! He not only defended his country for us but he defended his WKA Title something like 8-9 times. VERY FEW Fighters go out of their way to not only defend their titles today, but he also put up the money to promote the event so he could keep fighting. He didn't just bring in bums to fight either. He always brought in the top challengers to continue to prove himself over and over again to his peers. Champions like Kevin don't have to prove anything more to ANYONE! He has already 'Walked the Walk' and made his place in the history of this sport."
We look forward to seeing what is ahead in Champion Kevin Rosier's Future.
LAST KNOWN PHONE NUMBER AS OF 2008
Kevin Rosier is sitting in a white rocking chair in front of The Manor at Steeplechase, a retirement community in Cool Springs. It's a rather unremarkable senior-citizen scene, save for one striking incongruity: Kevin Rosier isn't exactly a senior citizen. In fact, at 51, he happens to be one of the Manor's youngest residents a role he mischievously relishes. ("How are you, gorgeous?" he calls out to an octogenarian doddering past him.)
William Blake tells us that the road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom. In Rosier's case it also leads to The Manor at Steeplechase and that row of white rocking chairs.
Born to a French-Canadian farming clan in upstate New York, Rosier started studying "the sweet science" of boxing at a Boys & Girls Club. By 16 he was sufficiently intimidating to be hired as a bouncer at some notorious Buffalo nightspots. After shuttling between aunts and uncles for most of his adolescence, he began a noted fighting career that included boxing, karate, Muay Thai, kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
"I had a lot of heart," Rosier says. "I did them all."
Some of his fights were mainstream affairs. But much of his career is a blur of cages in Moscow, darkened pits in Thailand and Yakuza-infested dens of iniquity in Japan. (One MMA bout was dubbed "Mayhem in Mississippi.") Rosier also fought in the very first UFC championship in 1993, and was featured in a recent Sports Illustrated piece on the event.
"I paid my dues. I paved the way. Now it's a billionaire industry," he said.
All the while Rosier was working as a bodyguard for entertainers like Rick James ("He was always nice to me"), Billy Idol ("He was an idiot") and Debbie Harry ("Let's just say she enjoyed life, and leave it at that"). Nightclubs like Studio 54, Limelight and CBGB frequently retained his services as a bouncer.
"I prefer the term 'quality-control engineer,' " he says.
Though Rosier cannot always recall the who/what/when of a life spent in the ring, the body has a way of failing to forget. Open-heart surgery and a nearly fatal fall while already in intensive care are only half the story.
"I'm lucky to be alive," he says.
Having spent most of the past decade in and out of VA hospitals, the white rocking chair here in suburban Nashville may hold a certain uneasy appeal. "When the party's over, the party's over," he says.
More About Kevin On Wikapedia