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Monday Morning Hangover: One UFC vet retires after BKFC 41 loss, another says not so fast

BOXING: APR 04 BKFC 41 Press Conference Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was an action-packed weekend of fisticuffs as UFC Vegas 72 went down last Sat. night (April 29, 2023) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Ricky Simon, who was knocked out by Song Yadong in the fifth and final frame (highlights).

But, UFC wasn’t the only combat sports event taking place last weekend, as BKFC 41 stole the night in what truly was an exciting evening of bareknuckle boxing. In the co-main event, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, and former two-time Featherweight title contender, Chad Mendes, put on a show for five rounds of back and forth action.

In BKFC 41’s headliner, former UFC Middleweight kingpin, Luke Rockhold, was brutally punished by another ex-UFC fighter, Mike Perry. The fight was stopped in the second round after the former Strikeforce champ said “no mas.” And it was the right move because Rockhold’s photogenic face was turned to mush and his teeth and lips will be hurting for several days.

After Mendes lost a split decision to Alvarez in one of the best fights in recent memory, “Money” took his opportunity on the mic to say farewell to combat sports. From the outside looking in, it seems as if Mendes can still keep going and would be a great addition to any organization like Bellator or even PFL, but the longtime veteran insists it’s time to ride off into the sunset.

As far as Rockhold, goes, despite the crushing defeat, he isn’t ready to call it a day just yet.

“Well, fuck. What can I say? You can check bare knuckle off the list. It’s some crazy shit. Those little knuckles got me, square on the front two,” Rockhold said in an Instagram video post after the fight.

“Maybe a beard, maybe a better mouthpiece. It’s a good fight. It’s a shame it had to end that way. Motherfucker Mike, you tough bastard. Congrats. Thanks to my sponsors. Thank the people. I’m not done. Some gloves would be nice, though.”

The 38 year-old Rockhold has truly seen better days, as he has now lost four straight fights, ending his UFC career with three consecutive defeats before coming up short in his bareknuckle debut. On the surface, that may be enough to prompt him to walk away much like Mendes did, but the former 185-pound champion is adamant he still has more gas left in the tank.

This is where it gets dangerous for fighters like Rockhold.

While talented, the love of the combat game could be too much to let go. Can he still compete at the highest level? His last four outings would suggest not because he hasn’t won a fight in nearly six years. But every fighter has a puncher’s chance, as they say.

I’m not trying to pull a Dana White and convince fighters to retire, but Rockhold needs to be careful that he doesn’t go down a dangerous path where losing no longer matters, much like Antonio Silva or Bobb Sapp. I’m not comparing Rockhold to those two brutes, but even the best of the best go on slumps and find it hard to leave.

Just look at Anderson Silva, who lost his last three fights inside the Octagon and was a paltry 1-7-1 in his last nine contests in the promotion. He eventually turned to boxing and has some wins, but that just proves that even for one of the greatest with nothing left to prove, hanging them up is simply too hard. And that seems to be the road Rockhold is headed down. But is his name big enough to warrant the paydays that come with celebrity boxing matches?

That remains to be seen, but I think it’s safe to say we can forget about this.

For complete BKFC 41 results, coverage, and highlights click HERE.

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