'Have you no shame?': Bare Knuckle FC criticized after Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva suffers inevitable KO defeat
‘Bigfoot’ Silva may have challenged for the UFC heavyweight title in the halcyon days of his combat sports career but with those days long gone, is it time for promoters to exercise more caution when booking veteran fighters?
‘Bigfoot’ was floored in the second round of his Bare Knuckle FC debut last weekend by fellow former UFC title contender Gabriel Gonzaga in an event marked by the sheer inevitability of the climax to its headline bout.
Silva, who is 40 years old, has now won just one of his last 10 fights and has been knocked out in eight of them. Clearly this isn’t the type of form which you would expect to see at the top of a combat sports card, but Bare Knuckle FC are anything but a conventional fight promotion.
The upstart fight league is trading primarily on ‘big name’ fighters regardless of whether they are spent commodities, as Silva certainly is nowadays, as they wring the last ounces of commercial viability from battle-worn veterans. While there are clear exceptions to this (Artem Lobov and Jason Knight, for example), the elevator pitch for BKFC hasn’t really evolved past the idea of taking two famous names, removing their gloves and setting them loose upon each other for 10 minutes.
In Silva’s case, there aren’t many fighters less equipped for such a scenario. His giant chin, once considered to be among his greatest attributes, has defied him time and time again to the point that considering him for an event such as the one he participated in last weekend is at best naive, and at worst wholly manipulative.
Sure, they are getting paid but placing fighters in such situations entirely detracts from the competitive element of fighting and devolves it into little more than watching a man walk to the gallows. It is car-crash TV, asking fans to strain their necks and stare at the pileup as they drive past.
The crushing inevitability of Silva’s defeat to Gonzaga, who has lost four of his last six by KO by the way, was noted online by fight fans who were critical of the the promotion for contemplating booking this fight, let alone placing it in a main event slot.
Some of you deliberately sought to watch Bigfoot Silva get KTFO in his third combat sport and for about the 570th time overall in his career.
Have you no shame?
(Don’t answer that)
— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) October 20, 2019
Now, it is difficult to impugn the right of a prizefighter to do just that – earning prizes for fighting – but controls have been implemented in the world of fighting to help place these types of fights firmly in the rear view mirror. The Californian and Nevada athletic commissions, for example, continue to roll out measures designed to make the fighting arena as safe as possible for those within it.
It is no coincidence that the fight, along with the majority of BKFC events, took place under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Fight Commission, which would likely sanction a fight between two squirrels if a promoter told them it would sell tickets.
While the idea of Bare Knuckle Boxing isn’t going away any time soon, their matchmaking must take a step in a positive direction if they are to ever advance past a reputation of being little more than organized bar brawls. They owe it to everyone who steps into their ring, and especially to those who clearly shouldn’t.