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Bare-Knuckle Fighting Is Making A Legal Comeback In The US

The first rule of fight-club may soon be irrelevant.

If you’ve ever punched someone you’ll know it can hurt your hand more than whoever-had-it-coming’s face.

Although we don’t condone violence (we believe a man should stick up for himself—no more, no less), we reckon bare-knuckle boxing is no worse a gladiator sport than its gloved counterpart. In fact, there’s research that shows bare-knuckle fighting might actually be safer.

This is because the bones in a man’s head are stronger than the bones in a man’s fists, meaning a bare-knuckle fighter risks damaging himself more than his opponent if fires punches as hard as he can at the other man’s head. A boxer whose fists are protected by gloves can land blows to the head with full force—adding to the number of boxers who end up with serious head injuries and dementia.

This is still not to say bare-knuckle boxing is safe. The removal of gloves makes body shots more lethal. As Dr. Larry Lovelace told Complex magazine, “I’ve seen people that have had liver lacerations and splenic ruptures from body blows. It’s just, which organ do you wanna damage? Obviously the brain is the one that everybody talks about, but you can certainly become seriously ill with body blows as well.”

This trade-off is set to be discussed a whole lot more in the coming years, as bare-knuckle fighting has just been legalised in the US state of Wyoming, after 130 years of prohibition (and they are campaigning for more).

“After years of deals that fell apart and outright no’s, Feldman, president of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), is billing his pay-per-view event on Saturday, June 2 as the first-ever legal, regulated, and sanctioned bare-knuckle fight the U.S. in 130 years (Fast Company).” With extensive lobbying from Feldman, in March Wyoming became the first state to sanction bare-knuckle fighting, the fight to take place in June, in the city of Cheyenne.

“The rules are simple: two fighters with their wrists and thumbs taped but knuckles exposed, enter a circular ring for five to seven rounds, two minutes in length–or nine rounds for championship bouts.”

Although bare-knuckle boxing has a reptilian reputation to overcome, it is this very instinct that many believe will be key to its success. As the Bare-Knuckle Fighting Championship’s president David Feldman told Fast Company, “Anytime I mention it to somebody that I’ve promoted over 300 boxing and MMA shows, they go, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ But when I tell them about this, and they’re like, ‘Oh, my God! That’s unbelievable!’ Or they’re like, ‘Oh, god–that’s horrible!’ But I get a reaction.”

“And I think that reaction out of curiosity is going to make people hit that remote Saturday night and buy that pay-per-view.”

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