David Feldman made one of the biggest gambles in combat sports history in 2018. He founded the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC). Despite widespread doubt about gloveless boxing, the company has experienced outstanding growth, signed first-class superstars, and caused shockwaves in mixed martial arts. Following a record-breaking 2023, Feldman believes that 2024 will be monumental.
After having the pleasure of interviewing Feldman, here are 5 updates and 3 lessons that he shared:
Update #1: BKFC is growing their worldwide talent by astronomical figures
In 2018, Wyoming’s state athletic commission was the first to approve bare knuckle fighting. Over 25 states have come on board since, and Feldman has capitalized on some massive milestones for BKFC.
This August, the promotion got voted in for unified rules by the Association of Boxing Commission in Las Vegas. “That was really groundbreaking for us because it took MMA almost 15 years to get that done,” Feldman reflected. “I think people are seeing that we’re not just talking the talk; we’re walking the walk as far as safety for fighters, and I think that’s why these commissions are starting to give us faster approval.”
This ruling paid off, as the President announced that BKFC just received verbal approval from the last state that he thought he could convince. “It’s been an unbelievable ride for us, and this year has had amazing growth.”
Another state that Feldman is seeking approval from is New York. I suggested hosting an event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, but he aimed bigger. “We’re not going to do the Hulu Theater. We’re going to do the main arena.”
Internationally, BKFC is hosting events in three other countries this November: Thailand, Bulgaria, and England. That is not all, however. Feldman stated that BKFC is launching a series in Canada next March and Mexico next April. They are also nearing a deal with Australia and have gotten approval in China.
What started as a frowned-upon idea has become a worldwide sensation in only 5 years.
Lesson #1: Despite over 1 million illegal streams of BKFC 41, Feldman views it as a positive
To conclude the most significant card in BKFC’s history, Conor McGregor jumped into the squared circle to face off with main event winner Mike Perry. Unfortunately, the BKFC team calculated that over 1 million people watched the event on illegal streams.
Despite that, Feldman viewed the reality with his glass half full. “[The fans] weren’t all going to pay, I know that. [The mass viewership, despite some being illegal] gives us hope that we have something that people want to see. We just have to figure out how we can get more people to watch it.”
Update #2: BKFC will have a reality show and a documentary series
The public news is that BKFC has been in talks for a reality show. Despite plans to feature up-and-coming fighters, the team is not following the in-house format of The Ultimate Fighter. Feldman affirmed that he wants to shine a light on the lives of fighters because he has, “some unbelievable stories that are going to be aired.”
Additionally, in January, BKFC will launch a docuseries with a famous production company. This show will focus on the organization’s hard work behind the scenes to deliver the best presentations. “I think people are really going to appreciate what we go through to make this thing the fastest-growing combat sport in the world,” suggested Feldman.
Update #3: The BKFC video game is close to being launched
In our interview, Feldman declared that the BKFC is close to releasing its own video game and was astonished by the preview. If this materializes, BKFC will join Power Slap as another rising promotion to enter the gaming industry.
Update #4: Mike Perry’s fight announcement is coming this week
In what will have the fans buzzing from this interview, Feldman teased that a Mike Perry fight announcement will likely come this Tuesday or Wednesday. Full details about Platinum’s December 2nd bout will be released, including the undercard. “I think it should be the biggest card we’ve ever done with BKFC,” Feldman proclaimed.
Update #5: There is a possibility for a bare knuckle rematch between influencers Bryce Hall and Austin McBroom
Social media influencer Bryce Hall shocked the world by finishing an undefeated bare knuckle boxer at BKFC 48. However, his first boxing fight featured gloves, and it was a knockout loss to fellow influencer Austin McBroom in 2021.
Feldman revealed that McBroom has been pushing to join the organization. “We might give him a fight actually against the same guy [that Hall fought, Gee Perez],” he said. “If he wins, [he and Hall can] fight each other.”
Feldman did reiterate how seriously he takes the sport of bare knuckle boxing. “I don’t want to just turn it into a circus where we’re just doing influencer fights,” he clarified. “If you get the right guy with the right following and knows how to fight a little bit, that’s the kind of guy that you can put in there.”
Lesson #2: Dana White “not listening to the word no”
The promoters of MMA’s top organizations have achieved a ton of success. Feldman was full of praise for his peers’ investments and work ethic. “I just take my hat off to these guys that don’t listen to the naysayers,” he spoke. “If you have a good vision and keep pushing, [your dreams] are going to happen.”
The President emphasized that there is no need to speak ill of his peers, as they are all succeeding in their own rights.
Lesson #3: “You got to have enough drive in yourself to just keep going and understand what your goals are“
On November 2, 2016, Feldman faced cancer, near bankruptcy, and suicidal thoughts. Reflecting on that day, he said, “That day was the worst and best day in my life. I said I’ll never be here again, and I never looked back.”
7 years later, Feldman and the BKFC are closer than ever to reaching the world’s top. He has a policy where if an employee is negative, he sends them home for the day to clear their minds. Positive energy is what he preaches, and he is beyond grateful for his team behind him.
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