A Real Life Rocky Story: 47-Year-Old Rodney Guignet’s Next Battle is With PA Athletic Commission
At 47-years of age there are many people and more importantly there are state athletic commissions that would say Rodney "Sledge Hammer" Guignet is too old to compete in MMA however age doesn’t seem to slowing the Hammer’s momentum.
Just last month Guignet captured yet another title to bring home to his gym, Hammer Training & Fitness in Allentown, PA. The 47-year-old fighter captured a light heavyweight amateur title on Jan. 12 in Harrington, Del., as he defeated Andrew Murray at Stellar Fights 13 with TKO/referee stoppage in the second round.
Before that, Guignet captured a light heavyweight title in Virginia as he brought home the Barbarian Fight Club crown in August of 2011 submitting Ismael Romero at just 2:58 in the first round. Even though Guignet is physically capable of competing at the top level, defeating fighters half his age, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has age restrictions in place which currently prevent the Keystone State fighter from being licensed in his home state.
Guignet wants the chance not only to prove not only to himself but also to the commission that age is just a number.
Although he was granted licenses to fight in other states it does not come easy. In Delaware, Guignet did not receive the official green light until the night of his fight.
"I supported Rodney's decision to fight but was quite upset how a lot of state agencies could so blatantly discriminate against a fighter because of his age. Rodney was required to get a CAT scan to check for prior brain trauma but younger fighters with the same amount of fights as him were required no such thing," said Guignet’s wife and business partner, Rebecca Pizzolatto
In Pennsylvania, all age restrictions and requirements for MMA are referred to and fall under section 21.8 item 3e of the state’s boxing code.
(e) The Commission will not license as a professional boxer an applicant under 18 years of age and the Commission will require conclusive proof of age of a boxer applying for the first time to be so licensed with the Commonwealth. An applicant for a boxing license who has never competed in a professional contest shall attach to his license application the results of a complete general physical on a form supplied by the Commission in the Medical/Safety Manual. The Commission will not license as a professional boxer an applicant over 36 years of age except by special action by the Commission. An applicant for a boxing license over 36 years of age shall attach to his license application the results of the following:
(1) A complete general physical on a form supplied by the Commission.
(2) An electrocardiogram (EKG).
(3) A stress echo test.
(4) An eye exam.
Guignet already has Pennsylvania based promoters knocking at his door, anxious to get him squared up for a fight. The problem however, is the commission has rules in place and likely will not bend them for just one fighter.
"I would like to go for a trifecta and win the PA Cage Combat light heavyweight title so I have a title belt from three states - Virginia, Delaware, and my home state of Pennsylvania,” Guignet said.
“I have already confirmed that PA Cage Combat is willing to give me a shot at the title if I can get licensed. I am just not sure how difficult the licensing process is going to be because to the best of my knowledge the PA State Athletic Commission has never licensed an MMA fighter over the age of 40. However, I don't see how they can deny an MMA license to me after I have totally dominated two men about half my age. I have already proven that age means nothing," states Guignet.Within hours of his latest win, Guignet received a message from author Dr. Jawara D. King stating "You're an INSPIRATION to us old fighters! I'm definitely putting you in my next book!!!"Pizzolatto is ready to support her husband's dream and is willing to do anything to make that happen. Knowing that this may be a rough road she has set up a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/HelpHammer or HelpHammer.com where fans of Guignet can show their support. She is hoping that this website will help to sway the PA State Athletic Commission to license Guignet to fight in MMA in PA.
As of Press Time, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has not returned questions or provided a statement.If and when Guignet gets licensed to fight Pizzolatto says "the one thing I can guarantee is this will be a fight you don't want to miss!"
At the very least, Guignet and Pizzolatto hope that this story will inspire others to reach for their dreams no matter how old they are or what the obstacles they may face.
Guignet also hopes he will inspire others to get in shape and stay fit. As a martial arts instructor and coach at Hammer Training & Fitness, he loves training others to reach their goals and hopes to see more people at the gym striving to their goals because his story motivated them.Visit HelpHammer.com to show your support of Guignet's real life Rocky journey.