A History of The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC)

The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is a relatively new organization that is looking to make a big impact in the world of professional fighting. With no gloves and nothing but bare fists, this organization has garnered a lot of attention in a short amount of time. In this blog post, we will discuss everything there is to know about the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship! We will cover the history of the organization, the fighters who have competed in it, and what to expect in the future!

The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship was founded in 2018 by David Feldman. Feldman is a former boxing promoter and a former American professional boxer who saw the potential for a new kind of fighting organization. The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship held its first event in June of 2018 and has been growing in popularity ever since.

The Rules of Bare Knuckle Fighting

As you might have guessed, the fighters do not wear protective gloves on their hands which can lead to much more hand-related injuries. As per the official site of BKFC, fighters are permitted to wrap and tape the wrist, thumb, and mid-hand. No gauze or tape can be within 1 inch of the knuckles. Fighters must also have a groin protector with a cup, a mouthpiece, boxing trunks, and boxing/wrestling shoes. The fights are fought in a specialized circular four-rope ring, referred to as the “Squared Circle.

Fights are 2 minutes per round, and each bout will be five rounds in length. The fighters are also prohibited from throwing kicks, knees, or elbows; they are also prohibited from striking a grounded opponent. BKFC is basically boxing without the gloves.

Official BKFC Weight Divisions

DivisionUpper weight limitGender
Cruiserweight205 lb (93 kg)Male
Light heavyweight185 lb (84 kg)Male
Middleweight175 lb (79 kg)Male
Welterweight165 lb (75 kg)Male
Lightweight155 lb (70 kg)Male
Featherweight145 lb (66 kg)Male
Bantamweight135 lb (61 kg)Male
Flyweight125 lb (57 kg)Male / Female
Strawweight115 lb (52 kg)Female

The First BKFC Event

The first Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The first BKFC was the first state-sanctioned bare-knuckle boxing event in the United States since 1889; it was also the first American-sanctioned women’s bare-knuckle fight in modern history. The event featured the quarter-final of an 8-Man Heavyweight Tournament.

Arnold Adams defeated Sam Shewmaker at BKFC 3, becoming the BKFC Heavyweight American Champion. Arnold was later inducted into the National Police Gazette Hall Of Fame.

The BKFC 5 event featured a fight between two UFC Veterans, Artem Lobov, and Jason Knight, in the main event. Also featured on this card were the semi-finals of an 8-Man Lightweight Tournament. Artem Lobov defeated Jason Knight via a unanimous decision.

Noteable BKFC Fighters

Since its inception, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship has attracted some big names in the world of fighting. Some of the most notable fighters to compete in BKFC include Joey Beltran, Paulie Malignaggi, Chris Leben, Bec Rawlings, and Shannon Ritch.

Anthony Johnson, the former UFC light heavyweight title contender, announced at the beginning of 2019 that he would be joining the company in an administrative role.

The BKFC already crowned a double champion; Luis Palomino, already a BKFC Lightweight Champion, on June 24, 2022, won the Welterweight Championship, thus becoming the first double champion in BKFC History.

Main Selling Point of BKFC

The main selling point of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is the fact that there are no gloves or any other kind of padding used. This means that fighters are able to land punches with maybe less force but way more damage than they would be able to with traditional boxing gloves. In addition, bare-knuckle fighting also eliminates many of the clinching and grappling techniques that are often used in mixed martial arts. This makes for a very different style of fighting, and it has been very popular with fans.

The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame

The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame is an organization that honors and celebrates the sport of bare-knuckle boxing. The Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by American historian and author Scott Burt. It is located in barns in Belfast, New York, that were once owned by the Greco-Roman wrestling champion and physical culture pioneer William Muldoon.

In 1889, the heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan, who fought in bare-knuckled fights and trained in these barns under Muldoon’s instruction for his title fight against Jake Kilrain. The National Police Gazette, a popular newspaper of the day, dubbed the barns “The Mecca of Pugilism” and “Muldoon’s Titan Gymnasium.”

The Police Gazette was the first organized boxing sanctioning body in the US, declaring its intention in 1881 and issuing championships beginning in 1882. The Police Gazette Boxing Corporation, a joint venture between National Police Gazette Enterprises, LLC and the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, NY, was formed to continue the police gazette’s previous bare-knuckle boxing licensing operations.

The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of bare-knuckle boxing and honoring the men and women who have made significant contributions to the sport. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held annually, and inductees are chosen based on their contributions to the sport, their accomplishments inside and outside the ring, and their character.

The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame is committed to promoting bare-knuckle boxing as a legitimate sport and works to educate the public about the history, traditions, and benefits of the sport. The Hall of Fame also provides support and resources for current and former bare-knuckle boxers and works to grow the sport through events and programs.

The Future Of BKFC

So far, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship has only held a handful of events. However, it has already featured some of the top strikers in the world.

The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship has plans to continue growing in the coming years. The organization has already announced plans to hold events in different countries and it is looking to sign more top fighters. The organization initially broadcasted its bouts worldwide via FITE TV; however, in 2020, it was announced that starting in August, DAZN will be the one streaming BKFC events.

BKFC recently signed the Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek who is set to fight against David Leduc, the lethwei legend who is already accustomed to fighting with no protection on his fists. This is going to be a historic fight as it will be the first time that Buakaw fights without gloves in his professional career.

There is no doubt that the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is here to stay, and it is sure to be one of the most exciting organizations in professional fighting.


BKFC is definitely something different in the world of martial arts and fighting. It will be interesting to see how it grows in the coming years. BKFC is currently the only professional bare-knuckle fighting promotion in the world. If BKFC continues to sign high-profile fighters and martial arts veterans, their future should be a bright one. So, what do you think? Are you excited about the future of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship? Let us know in the comments below!

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