David Feldman has recently signed several former UFC and Bellator champions or title contenders to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. He also recently signed former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who stepped into the BKFC ring for a fight against Artem Lobov.
Feldman believes it’s crucial to BKFC’s continued success to sign these kinds of big-name fighters — fighters like Wanderlei Silva and Hector Lombard, who recently signed on the dotted line. Luckily, Feldman says fighters are now coming to him and wanting to sign with BKFC, which makes his job much easier.
“At the beginning, we reached out to them but now the roles are reversed where people are reaching out to us,” Feldman said to BJPENN.com. “The guys that have done MMA and bare-knuckle say this is less wear and tear on the body.”
When BKFC signed Wanderlei Silva, there was some backlash, given that Silva recently said he was suffering from symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and that Bellator wouldn’t clear him to fight. However, Feldman assures all Silva’s medicals have came back spotless, which is why BKFC decided to sign him.
“All of our fighters get extensive medicals — more than any state requires,” Feldman said about Silva’s CTE claim. “Fighters in the main event all had to get an MRI on the brain, blood work, eye exams. You name it, they did it. There can be rumors of CTE but they are going to get medical attention. And, if they don’t pass with flying colors they aren’t going to fight for us.”
One fight that would make sense for Wanderlei Silva, who has recently fought at heavyweight, is a matchup with Gabriel Gonzaga. Gonzaga just beat Antonio Silva at BKFC 8 over the weekend. Yet, David Feldman plans on signing someone to fight Silva.
“No, we are talking to some other names that make a lot of sense for Wanderlei,” he said. “Some names that people are going to be surprised when we announce them. We never know what may happen.”
As for Hector Lombard, David Feldman doesn’t know if they will match him up with another big name or an up-and-comer to test him out. Either way, the BKFC boss believes the former Bellator champ has plenty of gas left in the tank.
“It depends. But, with Lombard he has a lot of mileage left so we will play it carefully,” Feldman said. “There is a lot of planning that goes into it.
“We can have big names fight big names, or have them fight one of our up and comers.”
Feldman believes both Silva and Lombard will make their BKFC debuts in early 2020.
“First quarter of 2020 we are going to announce a very big show in February and he will be on it,” Feldman concluded.
Who do you think Wanderlei Silva and Hector Lombard should fight in their BKFC debuts?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/23/2019.