In Feb. 12 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
"I'd like to see people quit thinking of it as a blood sport," said Brian Taylor. "It really is a sport just like boxing."
Taylor said he hoped the quality of mixed martial arts fighters coming up in this area would help the public perception of the sport in which he is so involved.
The quality of competitors has been less than stellar, he said.
"It has been hard to find good fighters," Taylor said. "We would have to bring them in from a long way."
But now the Southern Kentucky Combat League is sporting some high powered talent of its own, Taylor said.
Josh Cooper is a bundle of muscle and sinew that is eager to go on to the professional level of mixed martial arts competition.
Cooper has the championship belt in the 155-pound weight class for Kentucky and on February 21st he'll be battling for the 145-pound title in Somerset.
"Hopefully in the next six to nine months I'll be able to go pro," Cooper said.
The Somerset fight with Buzz Rogers will be a challenge.
"He's a wrestler," Cooper said. "I'd like to keep him standing up."
He said his own style is that of a grappler, having trained in Carlson Gracie's style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
"We also train in boxing and Mui Tie styles," Cooper added.
But he isn't the only professional prospect in Taylor's group.
Jason Bradshaw is holding the 205-pound belt for Kentucky, though his fight in Somerset this month will not be a title fight.
He'll be facing a bruiser our of Arkansas, Daniel Nelson who has an 11-1 record. Bradshaw has a 5-1 record with a decision loss in his first match.
"I'll have this fight, then maybe one or two more and see where to go from there," Bradshaw said.
Taylor said he sees the heavyweight going on the the professional ranks, for now he works at a juvenile detention center.