Watch Out MMA. Bare Knuckle Boxing Is Here!

Bare knuckle boxing has finally set up legitimate roots in the US and I predict it’s just a matter of time before its popularity surpasses that of MMA.

Bare Knuckle boxing is currently sanctioned in Wyoming and Mississippi.  Other states are reportedly hesitant right now, which is reminiscent of when MMA was first introduced to the US.  The UFC had a definite fight on their hands and it took a long time for states to jump on board but they were the first to break ground on something like this.  I anticipate the acceptance of Bare Knuckle Boxing to happen much quicker because of the path laid by the UFC.

MMA has already accelerated Bare Knuckle Boxing’s growth because of how quickly it has attracted former UFC fighters like Chris Lytle, Kendall Grove, Phil Baroni, Bec Rawlings, Johny Hendricks, Melvin Guillard and Chris Leben.  All of these fighters have spoken well of their experience in the new sport, which is sure to help attract more fighters in the near future.  The bigger the names, the bigger the PPV numbers and as we all know…money talks.  That’s all these other states are waiting on.

I’m sure, just like when MMA first came on the scene, conservative legislators will speak on how barbaric it is and that there are medical concerns but it’s already a forgone conclusion that cuts, blood and broken hands pale in comparison to traumatic brain injury issues that the NFL is negotiating.  Yes, fighters do get knocked out but that’s way different.  Fighters that suffer a knockout are sidelined, via medical suspension, for a minimum of 60 days.  MMA has already successfully defended this and the removal of 4 ounce gloves isn’t significant enough of an argument to put Bare Knuckle Boxing in a separate category.

So, why do I think Bare Knuckle Boxing will surpass MMA’s popularity?  For the casual observer, Bare Knuckle Boxing is a sport that eliminates everything that is boring about boxing and MMA.  Grappling aficionados, like myself, enjoy when fighters get to showcase their wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills and end a fight with a submission on the ground.  But let’s face it, the masses want blood.  They want to see to fighters go to war and bang it out on their feet.  I’ve seen three Bare Knuckle Boxing events so far and this is exactly what you get.

Regular boxing matches are too long.  Fighters typically conserve energy for the first half of the fight and the gloves offer enough padding to make knockdowns and knockouts, the exception more than the rule.  With no gloves, the opposite is true.  A Bare Knuckle Boxing match is 5 two-minute rounds as opposed to most pro boxing matches, which are typically 10-12 three-minute rounds.  This means Bare Knuckle fighters have to get after it, which means Bare Knuckle viewers get an exciting damn show.

The quickest way for a sport to grow is to be more appealing to more people than your competitor.  I am a boxing fan and even more of an MMA fan, but Bare Knuckle boxing is way more exciting to watch.   The organizations are paying high enough purses to attract top tier MMA and boxing talent and putting them in a faster-paced, more intense arena and the payoff is going to be very huge.  Good for them and good for us.  

The Sickest Knockout In UFC History

Of the all the amazing and crazy knockouts we’ve seen in the UFC over the years, this might top them all.  This is a prime example of when situational awareness meets desperation.  Yair Rodriguez slips a left hand from The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, and realizes that Jung’s momentum is carrying his unprotected face over his shoulder and toward his right hip.  So Rodriguez throws a desperate right elbow upward, as if he was starting a chainsaw, and lands it on Jung’s chin.

The precision, timing and situational awareness required to pull this off is baffling.  Especially, when you consider how fatigued he had to be after battling for nearly 5 rounds.  The Korean Zombie was literally 1 second away from winning this fight.  By that, I mean this elbow landed with 1 second left on the clock at the end of the 5th and final round.  Fortunately for Rodriguez and us, desperation can cause some unbelievable shit to happen in the octagon.

My favorite knockout before this one also occurred during a moment of desperation and ironically enough, happened 12 years ago to the day, before this fight (November 11, 2006).  In the TUF 4 finale, Scott Smith caught a liver punch from Pete Sell that sucked the life out of him.  As he was going down, Sell rushed him and Smith mustered one last burst of energy and managed to throw a haymaker that caught Sell on the chin and knocked him out.

Moments like these remind us that these men and women are not only skilled mixed-martial artists, they’re also warriors.  Something that the rest of us lost, through evolution, still lives inside them and thank God for that because it’s fun as shit to watch it unleashed.

Donald Cerrone Will Make UFC History Tomorrow

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is fighting in the co-main event tomorrow for UFC Fight Night 139.  If things go his way, he could walk out of the octagon with two more UFC records and I am fucking excited!

Cerrone is 20-8 in the UFC.  At 20 victories he’s tied with Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre for most wins in UFC history.  That’s some great company to be in.  Cerrone’s 14  victories by stoppage, has him tied with Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva for the most wins by stoppage in UFC history.  Also great company to be in.  So, a win by knockout, TKO or submission tomorrow night…secures both records.

To say this dude has had an impressive career is an understatement.  He already holds the UFC record for most knockouts stemming from a head kick, with 6.  No one else has more than 4.  He also has 13 UFC fight night bonuses, which puts him in a tie for 3rd for that record.

After the retirement of Chris Lytle, Donald Cerrone became my guy.  I love well-rounded fighters that put on exciting fights and these guys both fit the bill.  Championships aren’t important to me, it’s how you perform in the octagon that wins me over.  It’s the fighters that, even when they lose, earn fight of the night bonuses because of the battle they waged.  Cerrone lost a unanimous decision to Benson Henderson in a WEC Lightweight Championship fight in 2009 and the fight earned Fight of The Year honors.  This is the shit I’m talking about!  

Fighters like Cerrone are special animals. They raise the bar.  Every time they fight an elite opponent, they force that fighter to fight the best fight of their career because that is the only way you’re going to beat them.  They bring it each and every time they glove up.

The fact that he’s a real-life cowboy, drinks Diesels at post-fight and never goes on Joe Rogan’s podcast without a dip in…doesn’t hurt either.  Could he be more my guy?!  Nope.  I hope he puts Mike Perry to sleep with a head kick in the first round, earns knockout of the night honors and then goes on to break every single UFC record in the book.

Mike Perry is a well-rounded fighter with a significant advantage in both size and power and Cerrone has also lost 4 of his last 5 fights.  I personally think he got fucked in the decision loss to Robbie Lawler but, nevertheless, Perry is the odds on favorite at -185.  However, Perry is 4-3 in the UFC, and has a loss to Max Griffin earlier this year.  I know he’s a physical specimen, but I think at this stage in his career, he’s vulnerable to a technician of Cerrone’s caliber.  I’m also a big believer that great fighters fight great fights at great moments.  

So, I’m taking Donald Cerrone at +185 because I think tomorrow is his destiny.  There’s no way in hell he’s letting anything, or anyone, prevent him from breaking the most coveted of all UFC records, most wins.  At 35-years-old, I fully expect Cowboy to have one of his best performances of his career and that will simply be more than Mike Perry can handle.

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UFC Star Has Worst Day

UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar just had, what could be considered, his worst day ever.  He got blackout drunk and his brain did what blackout brains do.  It kicked right into autopilot and set a course for home.  I’m not proud of it but I’ve been there myself.  Your brain means well but the problem with kicking into autopilot is…there’s no captain.  Autopilot is a computer.  It doesn’t know what to do when a flock of geese gets sucked into the engine.  You need Sully for that shit.

I’m not defending Stephan Bonnar.  He got blacked out drunk, got behind the wheel of a car, drove like a maniac until finally pulling over to pass out and resisted arrest when police tried to wake him.  Thank God, for everyone involved, no one was injured or killed.  I do, however, feel bad for him.  He will deservedly be punished and I’m certain his personal and professional life will suffer.  There’s no doubt in my mind if he were still in control of his actions, none of this would’ve happened.  So, I feel bad for what he’s going through right now and will continue to go through as he deals with the consequences of his actions.

I’m guessing that was Stephan Bonnar’s worst day.  I’m guessing his best day was the historic night he fought that epic battle against Forrest Griffin in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 1.  That fight did more for the UFC than any other fight in the organization’s history.  Despite losing a close decision to Griffin, Bonnar was also rewarded a UFC contract and went on to have a career worthy of entrance into the UFC Hall of Fame.  

Bonnar has never been one to count out in a fight.  If he got knocked down, he got back up and kept swinging.  So, let’s not count him out now.  He got knocked down but let’s assume he’ll get back up.  When I got my DUI I wasn’t famous like Bonnar, but I was a cop.  I was a role model for some and I was certainly expected to obey the law and behave in a responsible manner deserving of my position.  I was working undercover at the time and going through a divorce.  Pretending to be a scumbag everyday while trying to deal with a miserable situation at home had me in a bad spot and that night it all came to a head and I had my worst day.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and I was able to get back up and start swinging again.  It took a while to earn back the respect I had lost but I didn’t give up and worked at it every day until that day eventually faded from a defining moment to just a footnote.  I don’t know what led Bonnar to this moment but as a fan, and as someone who’s gone through what he’s going through now, I wish him the very best and hope he handles himself appropriately from here.  If I could give him any advice it would be this.  It’s not your worst day that defines you.  It’s what you do after your worst day, that defines you.  So, get up brother.  Keep swinging.

@toddmccomas