Any time when big time combat sports comes to the Tampa Bay area I'm going to be a proponent of it and I'm going to be there in person. Saturday night's BKFC 6 was their biggest event in their young history and I was excited that they decided to bring the event to Tampa. It was the 1st notable event that has been to this area since Glover Teixeira knocked out Rashad Evans in a UFC on Fox event. Tampa came out to see the fight. They called it a sell out of over 4500 fans. There were empty seats in the arena, but they originally set up the arena for 4500 when they put tickets on sale. David Feldman told me afterwards that the digital pay per view buys were trending 4 to 5 times better than usual. But, if I'm being honest here, I think Saturday might have been the peak for BKFC. Paulie Malignaggi will probably be the biggest name that ever steps inside their squared circle. This will certainly be the only time that their main event will be so closely tied to Conor McGregor. I'm willing to bet that there was a pretty sizable portion of fans that just bought tickets to the event for the hopes that they would see the former UFC champion. He didn't show up. I didn't think Artem won the fight, but that result was probably better for the future of the promotion. I don't think there's any opponent that they could get him that will generate the intrigue that Paulie did. Just look at the contrast in buzz between this past weekend's show and Lobov's debut fight against Jason Knight. A rematch between Knight and Lobov is probably the biggest fight they can make. How many people are shelling out 40 bucks for that. I'm not saying that Saturday was the end for BKFC 6. I would be thrilled if they continue on and get bigger and better. I thought the fights were going to be more gruesome than they were. I'm not even skeptical about the concept of Bare Knuckle after Saturday. It will just always be what it is. Maybe they just weren't ready for how big this was going to be. They ran out of credentials for the media before the event even started. Yes, they knew how many they had credentialed. I'm pretty sure anyone who applied for credentials was approved. I don't blame them, When you are in their position any publicity is good publicity. Because they credentialed everyone we were directed to the upper level of the expo hall because they didn't have enough space on their press row. Without an outlet there was no way I was going to be able to have my computer out and live blog the event like I originally planned. I still did my best to cover the event to the fullest with the limitations of just being able to use my phone. That section of the arena was supposed to be just for the media, but somehow fans who bought general admission tickets began making their way up stairs. That ended fairly quickly. This was only because someone almost walked to their death. There were multiple exits where it seemed you could go down stairs, but there was only a partial stair case. Only one exit had a staircase with wheels rolled up where you could fully get up and down the stairs. One of the fans, drinking a beer, started to walk down one of the partial staircases to just chill. Luckily someone alerted security and the crisis was averted, but to me that was just fitting for the event I was at. I had a great time, but as so many put on social media; BKFC will always be the gas station food of combat sports. When you are really jonesing for it it can hit the spot, but it is never really something you go seeking out. As long as Bare Knuckle continues to realize that, they will be fine. I'm not always going to pay 40 bucks, but if they come back to Tampa before the end of the year with that Knight-Lobov rematch you can bet your ass I'll be there. Bare Knuckle would be dumb to not come back to Tampa after Saturday. As long as you know what you are getting yourself into, you'll have fun. Just don't expect fine dining when you will be getting a gas station hot dog. I just hope Bare Knuckle remembers that as well.
Here are some photos and videos we took at the actual fights as well as Paulie's response to me asking him if Conor or Artem was a better boxer.