Monday, February 26, 2024  |


The inaugural Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event: A recap

Fighters Network

There was blood, just enough. There was just one facial fracture, a busted nose. Yep, promoter David Feldman said to himself, after his first Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event came off without a hitch on Saturday evening: A new era in combat sports has begun.

The obits were pre-written, in some circles, with assumptions floating about how everyone would break their hands on each others’ faces. But all in all, the Pennsylvania native told me he could not have been happier with how the night of scraps in Wyoming, which ran on pay-per-view, ended.

No numbers are in; Feldman said he’d have some by the end of the week. “I couldn’t have written the script for ending the first event any better,” he told me on Monday afternoon. “I did a lot of pre-fight interviews and people asked, ‘How will you measure success?’ It’s in the fans’ hands; I told them. And the reactions Saturday, Sunday, into Monday, we were the number two trending topic in the world on Twitter, Saturday night! Sunday and today, all I heard was, ‘We want more. When is the next one?’”

Feldman said he isn’t too concerned with the tallies number for this event. “Because I know we’ll blow the doors off for the next one,” he said.

“Perception to many coming in was that it would be brutal, like a street fight. We’d see broken hands and all that. I saw the doctor’s report after; there were zero hand breaks and one broken nose.”

Feldman cited the women’s bout, which pitted Bec Rawlings against Alma Garcia…



…as a standout. “Bec was fighter of the night,” he said. “The Joey Beltran vs. Tony Lopez fight was a bloodbath, back and forth. Fans were on their feet. It heated up in the second round till the end; there were no fans sitting. That won ‘Fight of the Night.’”

Feldman said he saw no hiccups. Twitter yelped some during the Bobby Gunn fight, screaming fix but Feldman vehemently disagreed, “Gunn knows bare knuckle fighting better than anyone; he knows precisely where to place shots. After a shot to the body, you see his opponent (Irineu Beato Costa Jr.) wince. After (Gunn) did that, (Costa) didn’t want to be there.” No fix, Feldman reiterated. Gunn’s first left hook to the body after Costa backed into the ropes sent him to the canvas. He got up, continued, ate another body blow and the fight was waved off.

Sam Shewmaker, looking like a deflated Butterbean after mastering the concept of ketosis, scored a one-punch KO, a right-hand bomb drop, on Eric Prindle. “That one might make SportsCenter,” exclaimed color man Antonio Tarver. Prindle froze as Shewmaker landed the long right.

Those wondering when the next event will erupt, Feldman said they will make an announcment on Wednesday. Maybe the end of August or early September, he told this writer.

My three cents: The very unscientific Twitter polling tells me the event succeeded. This thing was on radar screens; you saw established fighters like Heather Hardy…



…express their interest in taking part. I do think Feldman scored with this promotion, the first sanctioned bare knuckle event since 1889.




Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.




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