Half of the fighters who took part in bare-knuckle boxing's legal debut subsequently put on injury suspension
Sanctioned bare knuckle fighting made its legal return for the first time last weekend and one boxer for every fight has been since put on injury suspension.
The event in Wyoming was made up of a 10 bout card, and after the fights took place, the Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts were forced to put 10 of the fighters on an injury suspension, many of whom are deemed indefinitely unfit for return.
The last official bare-knuckle fight, recognised by the International Boxing Hall of Fame, took place on July 8th 1889 and saw John L. Sullivan go 75 rounds to beat Jake Kilrain. Saturday’s fights didn’t last as long but newer boxing techniques made them far more brutal.
After 28 other US States rejected a proposal by former boxer David Feldman to sanction the sport, Wyoming became the first to grant it a professional sport status and Bare-knuckle FC 1 took place in a packed ice hockey rink the State capitol Cheyenne, on Saturday.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and UFC veteran Joey Beltran were the big draws on the night, defeating Lewis Rumsey and Tony Lopez respectively in brutally bloody circumstances.
The rules of the competition are a nod to the traditional, prohibited bare-knuckle fighting. Fighters begin each two-minute round by touching their toes on the central line before unleashing attacks of clinch fighting, which is tolerated. The fighters’ wrists and thumbs are taped leaving their knuckles are exposed however no elbows, knee strikes or kicks are allowed.
Fights consist of five to seven rounds, (nine for a title fight) but of the ten fights in the sports’s debut, only three went the distance, and all 10 featured bloodied faces and hands of both fighters in each contest.