- If money were no object for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship founder David Feldman, he would sign the UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal to compete in his BKFC ring.
- Feldman told Business Insider that Masvidal, with his street-fighting background and developing pedigree in UFC, would be able “to take some of these guys apart.”
- Feldman was speaking ahead of the 10th Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event, one which brings former Bellator MMA champions, ex-UFC fighters, and an experienced old boxer to the sport of bare knuckle.
- Feldman says he wants to advance the sport, develop its technical qualities, and bring it into the mainstream. He says he will do that by signing top tier fighters and putting them in big, all-action fights.
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Jorge Masvidal would be the ultimate Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship competitor, BKFC boss David Feldman told Business Insider.
Feldman founded the BKFC in 2018 and in a near two year existence, he has overseen arguably the fastest-growing combat sport in the business.
From Jason Knight and Artem Lobov’s violent brawl in 2019, to the surprise signing of the former world boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi for a rivalry-ending fight with Lobov later in the year, BKFC has captivated the attention of the fight game.
With the addition of former Bellator MMA champions, UFC fighters, and experienced boxers, the sport of bare knuckle continues to advance, an evolution overseen by Feldman himself.
The promoter said a competitor like Masvidal would shine in his BKFC ring. “I’d love to have Jorge Masvidal in there,” Feldman told us.
He grew up in this thing, he did bareknuckle fighting before he became an MMA fighter … he’d take some of these guys apart.
The UFC welterweight was one of Business Insider’s top three fighters of 2019 after he manhandled Darren Till in London, knocked out Ben Askren with a flying knee in the summer, then out-struck Nate Diaz for the “BMF” belt later in the year.
Masvidal is now in line for a shot at Kamaru Usman’s UFC championship belt, potentially at UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas in July, which is a far cry from his street-fighting roots when he hung out with infamous wrecking ball Kimbo Slice and fought in Florida backyards, bare knuckle.
“I’ve always liked him even before he became really popular in the UFC,” Feldman said.
“I think he’s got a tremendous style, and I would love to see him in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. If I had one guy to pick right now, that would be the guy.”
“I think he’s good! He’s explosive, technical, he does it all –everything. He knows his way around the [UFC] Octagon but he grew up in this thing. He did bareknuckle fighting before he became an MMA fighter so he knows what it’s all about.
“I think because of how well rounded he is now, he’d be very relaxed in there and take some of these guys apart.”
Feldman is putting on a show this weekend, promising new things
Before Feldman can try to sign a fighter of Masvidal’s stature, he has to put building blocks in place.
Even he is surprised by how far his baby, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, has come in such a short space of time, and now he wants to alter the mindset that it is wild and unskilled, telling us instead that as more people see what it’s about, as fighters become more skilled in the BKFC, new things are learned and the sport develops.
This is who is fighting at BKFC 10: Lombard vs. Mundell, an event in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.
- Reggie Barnett Jr. vs. Matt Murphy
- Dat Nguyen vs. Abdiel Valazquez
- Jim Alers vs. Kaleb Harris
- Luis Palomino vs. Elvin Brito
- Hector Lombard vs. David Mundell
Feldman told us each of the five bouts has the potential to be fight of the night, but when it comes to advancing the sport, it is the inclusion of athletes like Dat Nguyen who really stand out.
Nguyen is a 37-year-old Vietnamese athlete with a record of 20 wins (7 KOs, 13 decisions) against 3 losses (3 decisions) in boxing.
He fought across the United States for a three year period and ended his pro career with a three-fight winning run in 2017, beating Miguel Flores, who recently challenged for the super featherweight IBF world title in a high-profile bout against popular Mexican fighter Leo Santa Cruz.
Nguyen now fights bare knuckle. “Dat Nguyem has done things in our sport we’d not seen before – hands down, slipping punches, and countering. Doing really nice technical boxing and made himself look great, so we have more of that [on Saturday].”
Then there’s the main event, which Feldman says will be what fans are more accustomed to and expect when it comes to the sport of bare knuckle. “We have guys who are doing technical stuff, but we also have explosive fighters like Hector Lombard and Dave Mundell, and Jim Alerts [against] Kaleb Harris. These will be explosive wars.”
Feldman hopes to deliver a knockout blow for his business
Feldman fought five times as a professional boxer, in the mid-1990s and in 2003, winning four times (all by knockout) and losing once, also by knockout. He also had a few bare knuckle fights in warehouse environments.
Feldman tells us he’s a businessman and a fan. As a promoter he has a duty to hype his events, to build and develop his roster of talent, but he also wants to grow the sport as a whole – something, he says, should be an easy sell.
“It’s non-stop, fast-paced, action. You rarely get a bad fight in our sport,” he said. “And as it’s growing, people learn how to adapt to this style. People are now learning how to put greater bare knuckle game plans together which help them last longer not just in a fight, but in the sport.”
Feldman has challenges to overcome. He says his shows are heavily pirated, meaning his company misses out on vital cash. But the positive is that he says BKFC grew, “more rapidly, popularity-wise, than we ever thought we were going to.” Because of piracy issues and growth, he is working on network deals. Feldman hopes to announce a new broadcasting relationship in the coming months.
He also said he is working on surprise signings that would continue to add intrigue, attracting more eyeballs to his business. “The people reaching out to us, the names, it’s unbelievable. We’re in negotiations with top people in mixed martial arts and boxing, which we’re hoping to wrap up in the next 30 to 45 days.
“Before it was us searching out for who was a free agent but now the free agents are searching for us, and seeing what we can offer.
“We’re working on a few super fights, fights that will take us to the next level. We’ll be signing fighters people won’t expect us to sign, big things for the future of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.”
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