Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship’s event BKFC 18 which was scheduled for May 21st at The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and then moved to The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on the same date is once again in search of a date and a venue according to sources close to the situation. The snag for the event is coming from the Hard Rock Casino not allowing the promotion to sell tickets to the event due to COVID-19 protocols.
The casino is open for business, and it is booming! However, while they seemingly have no issue with allowing thousands upon thousands of people to enter their venue to gamble or vacation on the property, for some reason they feel that hosting any live events with fans in attendance such as concerts or sporting events like BKFC is not socially conscious, and therefore will not allow fans to attend. Something this reporter finds absurd and hypocritical!
I have been to the casino in Hollywood recently, and while some folks wear masks, most don’t. It looks to me that it is business as usual at the property, and people are enjoying the amenities and facilities to the fullest. So why the double standard? It seems as if they don’t want to hurt their brand by allowing events to take place on their properties. I think if the Seminole tribe were truly worried that people may think that the casino is a hot spot for spreading covid, then why be open at all? If people actually were worried about it, the casino gaming floor would be a ghost town, which is the exact opposite of what you see when you enter the casino. So I for one am baffled by their decision to not allow BKFC to have 1,000 to 1,500 people attend an event!
The UFC came to Jacksonville, Fl earlier this month and hosted UFC261 at the Vystar Memorial Colisseum with 15,000 fans in attendance, and it went off without a hitch and was a smashing success. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light to the UFC to host the event, which shouldn’t be surprising as DeSantis has been very forward with his thinking in getting his state back to normal during the pandemic, and while he has some detractors, you can’t argue with the results. Florida is basically back to normal in almost every area. There are some local governments however that are still trying to hold their citizens back, and it has nothing to do with Covid, but rather it’s all about trying to wield power over the people and push a narrative that fits their political party’s agenda.
The Seminole tribe, which owns the casino does not have to follow the same laws, and mandates by the state of Florida as they are a sovereign nation. They did not have to close during the pandemic, they chose to do so, which when this all started made all the sense in the world as none of us knew just what exactly we were dealing with. Today we know so much more, and a lot of businesses are back in full swing. Also, with so many Floridians getting vaccinated, and if the vaccine works, then why are we still having issues with getting back to the business of living? It’s all political, and has nothing to do with Covid!
Unfortunately, Governor DeSantis’s hands are tied and he can’t help. He has no voice with the Seminole tribe as they are self-governed. He also can’t force cities and counties in the state to follow his statewide no-mask needed mandate, which sucks! Local governments headed up by power-hungry mayors with big political aspirations that don’t line up with Desantis’s views continue to handcuff their citizens for the wrong reasons. They are not helping the many, but rather the few, and that isn’t how this is supposed to work!
BKFC 18 is supposed to feature a lot of talent from South Florida, which is why the promotion chose the venue it did. BKFC President David Feldman has been fighting an uphill battle from day one of working to bring bare-knuckle fighting to the world, so while this wrinkle may be annoying, it is nothing new to Feldman who grinds like no other when it comes to achieving what he has on his agenda.
I hope the casino realizes that their decision today will affect business tomorrow, and sometime down the road when they return to welcoming events with fans in attendance, and they have open dates that nobody is looking to book, they will have nobody to blame but themselves.
Because the state of Florida is completely open for business, promotions from all across the country are booking dates. I checked the official Florida state boxing commission website and there are no dates left for the entire year of 2021. However, I do expect that BKFC will take a date from another promotion that isn’t going to be able to go forward with an event.
4 title fights are scheduled to take place at BKFC18, including the following:
Joey Beltran(c) vs Sam Shewmaker – Heavyweight Championship
Thiago Alves vs Uly Diaz- Inaugural 175lb title
Luis Palomino(c) vs Tyler Goodjohn- 155lb title
Hector Lombard vs Joe Riggs- Inaugural 185lb title
As of this posting, I’ve confirmed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman that no date is confirmed. He’s hoping to have an announcement this Thursday May 6th.
Stay tuned here for updates when they become available.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.