MMA is a sport with minimal pieces of equipment needed to participate, and fighters on the Gamebred Fighting Championship card on Friday night competed with one less item than usual. In what is almost unheard of in modern MMA, Gamebred FC held an evening of MMA bouts that saw fighters compete bare-knuckle – completely without gloves.
Attraction and interest in this card grew, and on a night where no major MMA promotion competed for airtime, the newly founded league took centre stage in the sport on Friday.
“Leave your gloves at home,” said Mahmoud Sebie after using his raw fists to stop Eric Thompson within a round with ground and pound in the opening bout of the main card.
The event took place from the Biloxi Community Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA and had seven bouts in total. The newly formed promotion is lead by UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal, who carries the “Gamebred” nickname and was present at the event on Saturday. It was broadcasted on BKTV, the online broadcasting service for bare-knuckle boxing organization BKFC, a promotion which has been leading the charge for glove-less combat sports since 2018.
The card was headlined by Jason Knight and Charles Bennett, two fighters who are no strangers to bare-knuckle fights, as they have both previously appeared under BKFC in the past. Knight notably competed in a two-fight BKFC series against fellow former UFC athlete Artem Lobov, producing two of the more well known battles in the promotion’s short history.
Knight was successful in the main event of Friday’s card, securing a rear naked choke on Bennett within the first round for a submission. His ability to initiate grappling was what helped him win the fight, battling back after receiving visible damage from Bennett early on due to punches.
Following his successful performance, Knight called for a second run in the UFC or a shot in Bellator or PFL.
Bennett, one of combat sport’s most well known journeymen, is now on a 16-fight losing streak through MMA, bare-knuckle MMA and shoot boxing.
Another former UFC fighter came up successful in the co-main event, as Brok Weaver over short-notice opponent Cliff Wright.
Weaver kept a strong pace on Wright throughout, taking him to the ground in the second round where he continued to unleash with strikes. The strikes eventually made the referee call an end to the fight in the second round.
Wright took the fight on just days notice, stepping in for previous opponent Brandon Jenkins.
Weaver was making his second appearance in combat sports since departing the UFC roster last year. Weaver had a promotional record of one win and two losses before leaving the UFC. He offered to fight at the upcoming UFC 264 pay-per-view event following his win.
“There’s five lightweights on that card. If anyone backs off, s*** I’ll fight for free,” said Weaver in his post-fight interview.
Lower on the card there was a mix of experienced fighters and rising prospects in the sport. While some people entered the show with an MMA record of 20-or-more bouts, fighters like Mahmoud Sebie or Jackson Wink-trained fighter Joel Bauman entered the cage for one of the few times in their careers thus far.
Gamebred FC could be labelled as one of the more experimental combat sports events being held as of late. Experiment or not, the promotion has made the committment to not be a one-off: their second event is already set for August 6th in Miami, Florida.