Sports & Recreation

Best MMA Gym 

St. Charles Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Mixed Martial Arts

Mike Rogers compares his gym in St. Charles to Average Joe's in Vince Vaughn's Dodgeball. It's tiny, off the beaten path and totally unlike the area's MMA mega-gyms. Rogers, a burly heavyweight, sports a bushy beard and prowls the mats wearing slippers and a Waylon Jennings T-shirt, a laid-back exterior that belies a badass of the highest order. He is a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu from the Rodrigo Vaghi school, an amateur-boxing champion and a King of the Cage champion. His young fighters — including Josh Sampo, Matt Ricehouse and Lance Benoist — dominate in both the cage and the ring. They won the St. Louis Golden Gloves novice division in 2009 and rank near the top in almost every weight class for local amateurs, with the victories to back up the hype.

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