The Return of Bare Knuckle Boxing

 in Kansas City - Self Defense Global

I know it sounds extreme. Are we stepping back into the Dark Ages? There’s perception, and then there’s reality, and in both realistic self-defense and in combat sports, the average person’s perception does not always match reality.

That’s why I want my students and anyone who is willing to ask a few more questions to get the Straight Dope. 

The state of Wyoming just sanctioned the first legal bare knuckle fight in about a hundred years. Here’s the story:

People will say it’s brutal, a step back into our more violent past, but here are some things you should consider if you’re interested in self-defense or any combat sport:

The four ounce gloves used in MMA competition, and the eight ounce closed gloves used in professional boxing and kickboxing do not protect the head in any way. Gloves protect the fighters’ hands.

A professional boxing or MMA hand wrap turns the hand into a re-enforced club. Broken hands always happen at the outside metacarpals, and the gloves and wraps encourage more punching output, and harder shots.

Headgear does not diminish the likelihood of concussions. It’s still useful for protecting the eyes, though.

Some fighters and trainers, such as Bas Rutten and yours truly, have said for years that removing gloves and only allowing a wrap that supports the wrist would make the sport safer. Punches would be measured, and form would be correct.

Fewer rounds, such as 3-4 rounds, is better for the fighters, and better for the fans. Many fans don’t appreciate the “feeling out” process of a longer boxing or kickboxing match. Besides the fighters learning about each other, this practice was often used to extend the betting period and encourage more money to be put on the table. Gambling as always been a big part of the fight game.

MMA is safer than boxing or kickboxing, particularly the striking sports that extend for 8,12, or even 16 rounds. This is way too much much condensed contact for healthy brain function. There are other ways to win in MMA besides targeting the brain, and there is no standing 8 or 10 count for a concussed athlete to be further concussed.

What about the prospect of death in the ring or cage? It’s a very, very rare thing. One of my family members was ringside when this happened in Kansas City in 1999. The most likely cause of death or a brain inury? The weight cut. When fighters and wrestlers drop weight, as much as 10% or more of their body weight, the synovial fluid inside joints and inside the skull diminishes. Then, when the head is popped, there is more of bounce to the brain, then the head hitting the canvas. The solution? Regulate and limit weight cuts, and let the fighters have twenty-four hours to recover after weigh-ins.

I love the science, and the art of Western boxing. The sport is dying due to corruption within and medical science teaching us the extent of damage done to the brain. American football will be a different game in ten years for the same reason. The best hope is that all the best training methods and techniques are retained in the sport of mixed martial arts.


Bare knuckle boxing? Maybe it’s safer than you think.


P.S. - We have a few reserve tickets left if you’d like to see mixed martial arts at it’s best - Shamrock FC 306 at Ameristar Casino, Friday June 16. Click here for more information.


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