Dana White Scared to Send UFC fighters to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship After Retirement

Published 10/07/2021, 9:02 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 04: UFC President Dana White speaks to the media during the UFC 217 post fight press conference event inside Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC President Dana White is not a big fan of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

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This past week it was revealed that 38-year-old, one-time BKFC fighter Justin Thornton passed away following a knockout loss in August. Thornton fought Dillon Cleckler at BKFC 20, in August and got knocked out within 19 seconds of the fight. He was hospitalized following the loss, having fallen face-first on the canvas after the knockout.

The fight left Thorton partially paralyzed after the fight and remained in the hospital until his demise earlier this week. BKFC issued a statement about Justin’s death.

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The statement read, “We are very sad to learn of the passing of one of our fighters, Justin Thornton, who competed at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021.”

“We join the rest of the combat sports community in sending our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Thornton had fought across several promotions in his career and had a 6-18 record.

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Dana White on the safety of fighters

Dana White let his feelings known about BKFC and the safety protocols the UFC follows compared to other combat promotions.

White in a press conference after the Dana White’s Contender Series said, “Well, let me start here. Is anybody shocked? I mean, in bare-knuckle fighting. You know, I’m not a big fan. I get; I guess I would call it concerned when I see some of our people when they leave here and go there. It’s like, oh my god.”

Dana went on and explained that UFC has never had a serious injury in the 25 years they’ve been doing the fights.

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He said, “I’ve done over like 7,000 fights with no serious injuries in the UFC. We’ve had some broken bones-some bad broken bones, the shin bone being the worst because it blows our minds when that thing breaks. And cuts.”

White, in one of his previous pressers, White had mentioned how the UFC reinvests the money they generate back into the business and the sport. Investing in performance centers, drug testing, and other things that go along. Investing in fighter safety is the number one thing for the promotion. “Every year we spend over $20 million on athlete medical. Health and wellness, or whatever it may be,” he added. 

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Dana also sent his condolence and said they were sorry to hear about the passing away of Justin Thornton.

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Arunaditya Aima

56 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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