The battle for bragging rights and local pride begins when Chris Galinsky and Nick Rogers step into the octagon Saturday (April 9) at WinnaVegas.

The two heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters -- both from rival MMA schools -- will be competing alongside others in King of the Cage's upcoming "New Era" bouts. Galinsky serves as an assistant coach at DeVall MMA & BJJ while Rogers is a coach and manager of Renegade Combat Sports & Fitness.

The beef between the two local MMA schools has been ongoing. For one reason or another, fighters from one school don't typically enjoy the company of the fighters from the competing school.

"We don't get along," said Galinsky. "We're not going to Easter dinner together."

Rogers agreed. "We don't agree with some of the things the other does. Because of it, we just don't see eye to eye."

For Galinsky, his bout against Rogers is "just another fight." But he also understands what's at stake.

"For me, it's bragging rights," said Galinsky. "I'm a heavyweight. He's a heavyweight. Typically, if you look at combat sports, heavyweights usually have exciting fights. That's what people want to see."

Is he fired up and ready to fight? Well, not necessarily. Galinsky said he doesn't need to hype himself up for his fights. In fact, he's quite calm. The only time he ever gets "mad," he said, is when someone doesn't punch him during training. Getting mad, trash talking and puffing up isn't his style.

"It's about competition," said Galinsky. "It almost turns into a human chess match where I'm trying to win. At the end of the day, the important part for me is getting my hand raised. I want to win."

Rogers has the same mentality in that regard. And he's ready for the fight to begin. The build-up and wait have been too long. 

"It's 10 years that I've been doing this," said Rogers. "Some fights get me more amped up than others. Obviously, King of the Cage is a great show and WinnaVegas is a great venue, so it's always nice to be able to compete in front of thousands of local fans. But what I want to do is just get it over with."

Even with the radio broadcasts and some fans calling the bout between the two heavyweights a "grudge match," Rogers doesn't see it as one.

"I see it as a step to go ahead and solidify Renegade as being the best combat sports gym in town, and that's all I see it as," Rogers said. "Yeah, we don't like each other, but there are plenty of people in the world that I don't like -- I'm not going in the ring to beat them up. This is just all business all day for me."

The same can be said for Galinsky. 

"They're going to lock me in the cage with some dude," said Galinsky. "It's him or me. At that point, you make a decision of what you want to do."

That decision? Win or lose.

And you can bet neither Rogers nor Galinsky will decide to lose when they walk into the ring.

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Weekender reporter

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