weather icon Partly Cloudy

Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame to induct first MMA fighter

Every class of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame usually has some sort of thread that links its inductees to one another.

For this year’s group, it’s easy. They’re fighters. Some literally.

Mixed martial artist Frank Mir, former major league outfielder Marty Cordova, longtime public servant Sig Rogich and the 1998 national champion UNLV men’s golf team will be honored June 24 at Orleans Arena. They’re all battlers and never backed down from a challenge.

“This is our 20th anniversary, and we wanted a diverse group that reflects who we are,” Hall of Fame executive director Dan Dolby said. “You look at Sig; he’s a pioneer for boxing in the state, and he has been an advocate for not just Las Vegas but all of Nevada.

“Marty was always a scrappy ballplayer who left it all out on the field, and Frank helped make the UFC the popular sport it is. And the golf team were a bunch of battlers who never quit.”

Mir, a Bonanza High School graduate and state wrestling champion, was a two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion and is the first MMA fighter to be inducted.

“It’s an immense honor to be the first UFC athlete inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame,” he said. “This is something that will never be taken away from me, no matter what.

“Anytime you’re recognized for your past accomplishments, given any kind of compliment or put into the same context as people such as the Fertittas, Dana White, Andre Agassi or Greg Maddux, it’s amazing. Those names are staples in the Las Vegas community, and I’m humbled to be named along with such an impressive group.”

Cordova, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate, played nine seasons in the major leagues and was the 1995 American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .277 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs for the Minnesota Twins.

“It’s something I’ve followed throughout the years and all the great names that have been inducted,” he said. “When I got the call I was being inducted, I was very excited. It’s something you think about but you can’t worry about because it wasn’t in my control.”

Rogich, who was on the Nevada Athletic Commission in the early 1980s and served as its chairman, said the honor was unexpected.

“I was blown away when they called,” he said. “You think of sports halls of fame and you think of great athletes. I was not a great athlete; I was always a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. I’ve always been involved in the process.

“But I’m proud of what we did on the athletic commission. We took major steps to ensure fighter safety, initiating the first study of brain injuries, changing boxing championship fights from 15 rounds to 12 rounds, adding a fourth rope instead of three, changing the way fighters’ hands are wrapped. All of those things have made the sport safer.”

Dwaine Knight, who coached the Rebels to the 1998 NCAA golf title, said the team was talented and close.

“They were a team in the truest sense of the word,” he said of the national champions, who were led by Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Jeremy Anderson, Chris Berry and Scott Lander. “They picked each other up, and they were a scrappy bunch of guys.

“We were the preseason No. 1 team in the country, and we stayed at the top all the way until the end when we won in New Mexico. They were real fighters, and they never gave in to anyone. I’m so happy that the Hall is recognizing them as a team for what they did, not just for UNLV but for all of Las Vegas.”

Ticket information is available at SNSHF.com.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did.
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer.
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more.
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8.
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8.
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
Tony Ferguson beats Donald Cerrone by TKO at UFC 238

Tony Ferguson’s path to the lightweight title is becoming clear. Ferguson won by technical knockout after a medical stoppage in a lightweight fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 on Saturday night.