I was watching the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) press conference on Thursday afternoon (replay here) and I just could not stop staring at the size of Chris Leben’s head, which has appeared to grow, considerably, over the last 10 years.
Let’s face it, if the 38 year-old “Crippler” had anything left to offer the combat sports world, he would be competing for a major mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion. Instead, he’s serving knuckle sandwiches against fellow wayward son, Dakota Cochrane.
I don’t have any personal vendetta against bare knuckle fighting, but at the same time, I can’t find any redeeming value in what appears to be an amalgamation of all the awful things we, as fans, hate about cage fighting.
Like sloppy striking, washed-up talent, and corybantic trash talk, just to name a few.
Headlining the BKFC 6 event, which takes place this Saturday night (June 22, 2019) in Tampa, Florida, is the grudge match between Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov. Malignaggi’s real beef is with former UFC champion Conor McGregor, but “Magic Man” is no Floyd Mayweather and will instead have to settle for the Irishman’s “Notorious” stand in.
It’s kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys.
Just like Leben, there is a reason Malignaggi and Lobov have lowered themselves to bare knuckle boxing. The “Sweet Science” has no place for the former, and the latter may have overestimated his value after requesting his release from UFC.
I mean, the poor guy was trying to rap his way into Bellator MMA before getting put in his place by Phuket Top Team.
I think one of my big issues with this event, and all bare knuckle events, is that it doesn’t require any real technique to succeed, which is why BKFC held open tryouts this week to find the next Tank Murdock. It does, however, require balls the size of Alpha Centauri, a durable beard, and knuckles that won’t shatter against skull and bones.
What was on display in Lobov’s brutal win over Jason Knight that is worth teaching in a martial arts or boxing school?
“What not to do.”
I know there’s a good portion of fight fans who are invested in this event. Some want to see Malignaggi, a proud MMA hater, get his comeuppance. Others just seem to enjoy watching two adults beating the shit out of one another. Is that worth the $40 it costs to order this pay-per-view (PPV)? I guess that depends on what you do with your disposable income.
Remember, $40 gets you eight months of ESPN+!
I will say that I’m glad fighters who need a paycheck and don’t have anywhere else to compete can lace up their imaginary gloves and do work for promotions like BKFC. Hopefully this batch fares a bit better than the last one, because I’m not sure where you go from here.