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UFC veteran Ben Rothwell signs bareknuckle contract with BKFC

UFC on FX Open Workouts Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender Ben Rothwell, who’s been around so long he can also add International Fight League (IFL) and Affliction MMA to his fighting credits, will continue his combat sports career for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).

Rothwell, 40, parted ways with UFC earlier this year, abruptly canceling his Alexander Gustafsson fight planned for the promotion’s May 21 event. “Big Ben” was expected to set sail (win or lose) against “The Mauler” and opted to expedite the process, requesting his immediate release to explore other opportunities.

“BKFC came with the best offer, made me very excited,” Rothwell told The MMA Hour. “I believe that it’s the place for me because I was doing BKFC long before MMA. It’s something that’s part of my life, something my great grandfather was doing; probably not legally, but had a history of it. It’s something that’s in my blood.”

Rothwell departs mixed martial arts (MMA) with a 39-14 record, having last competed in a technical knockout loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Vegas 42 back in late 2021. “Big Ben” holds 28 wins by way of knockout and has also been KOed five times in defeat (one via retirement), but has only been stopped once by way of strikes over the last 12 years.

“Ben is a very experienced warrior who packs a great punch,” BKFC president David Feldman wrote in a statement to MMA Junkie. “We are looking forward to see what he can do with BKFC. Fight announcement coming soon!”

Expect BKFC heavyweight champion Arnold Adams to be a very interested observer.