Today’s ever-evolving realm of combat sports has seen the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) emerge as a revolutionary force. Its inception in 2018 marked an audacious feat. BKFC was the first promotion to receive official state sanctioning for bare-knuckle fights since 1989. This watershed moment laid the groundwork for a remarkable change in the consumption trends of combat audiences.

It is a tricky assumption to make that the success of BKFC is attributed to the community’s yearning for a fighting avenue different from MMA and boxing. After having held 49 events to date, it is a burgeoning sport. To understand its growing popularity, it is crucial we look at where it all began.

History of BKFC


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Ex-professional boxer David Feldman founded the promotion company in August 2018. Since then, BKFC made waves by securing approval for a sanctioned event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The event immediately picked up notoriety for its ground-breaking fights on the roster. It hosted the first American-sanctioned women’s bare-knuckle fight in modern history. Bec Rawlings, Australian MMA fame emerged victorious that night. She earned the National Police Gazette World Diamond Belt. The fight today locates itself in the Bare-Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.

Later on, the BKFC would disrupt the workings of the combat space with what it had to offer. It was not just about being a fresh concept for combat enthusiasts. It stuck a chord for being raw, authentic, and truer to a fighter’s instincts. Something, that the audience was keenly looking for. Further, the organization sent ripples when it announced that it would allow lineal knuckle fighters to defend their titles within the promotion.

Its popularity was marked by former UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson assuming administrative roles in February 2019. Three years after its advent, it would see its peak in the media when it got its first Heavyweight champion. Arnold Adams was crowned champion after he defeated  Sam Shewmaker at an eight-man tournament in BKFC 3 (2021). That night it also saw the BKFC host its lightweight championship quarter-finals, strengthening itself in the combat realm.

Events that left notable imprints on the BKFC

  • Entry of BKFC in Asia: October 2021 marked the official advent of the promotion company in the Asia landscape. Former UFC champion and current BKFC Thailand CEO Nick Chapman launched the promotion company in the region. In December of the same year, it held its first event. Titled, BKFC Thailand 1: The Game Changer”, it featured names like former two-division WBC boxing champion Sirimongkol Singmanasak and Muay Thai fighter Sinsamut Klinmee. Later in 2022, BKFC Thailand was rebranded to BKFC Asia.
  • The ‘Triller’ Acquisition: Founder Feldman announced on the 24th of February, 2022 that TrillerNet, a social media company, would be acquiring a majority stake in BKFC. An effort the company took to increase its resources to further expand its influence in combat sports.
  • BKFC UK: In September 2022, Feldman announced BKFC’s entry into the UK. It established the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship United Kingdom (BKFC UK) after acquiring the Bare Fist Boxing Association (BFBA).
  • Justin Thornton’s demise: The promotion company was entangled in controversy after debutante fighter, Justin Thornton died during the BKFC 20. Reports suggested that the fighter succumbed to a spinal injury he incurred during his maiden fight. The fighting concept came under heavy fire for its relaxed rules and formats.

Future of BKFC


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The combat realm has accepted the BKFC completely. Ever since its inception, the fight concept has entrenched deep feelings in its viewers who see it as the reimagination of the long-gone gladiator days. Today, when promotion companies grapple with how to retain their audience base, BKFC has led this front by mastering it. However, Feldman believes they do so by redefining the concept. Today, within the combat space, bare-knuckle fights locate themselves as a niche in itself. Their perpetually growing audience, mostly sold-out events, and their knack for gauging audience sentiments have propelled them into a promising future.

Also Read: From Fighting Cancer to Running Multi-Million Dollar Company, Who Is David Feldman, the Mastermind Behind Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

It has transcended expectations and now it stands as the unrivaled global platform for bare-knuckle fighting, captivating diverse audiences with its unique blend of athleticism and spectacle. As it charts its course forward, BKFC remains poised to expand its reach, introduce fresh talent, and further amplify the global allure of bare-knuckle combat.


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Watch This Story – Richest Promoters in Combat Sports History: Bob Arum, Don King, Dana White, and Six More

(To know more about David Feldman’s fascinating journey, tune in to the ESFanCast, LIVE this Friday at 1:00 PM ET. We sit down with the renowned Businessman who Has Brought Bare Knuckle Fighting To The Masses)