A bloody main event at the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships event has divided combat sports watchers, after horrific post-fight images of the boxers emerged.
Former UFC fighters Artem Lobov and Jason Knight faced off in Biloxi, Mississippi, with the fight going the full five rounds. Lobov, best known in MMA for being a teammate of Conor McGregor, won by unanimous decision after knocking down Knight in each of the first three rounds.
Bare knuckle fighting is not for the faint-hearted – a fact graphically proven by the fighters’ appearance after the bout.
In case you can’t tell who won, Knight is on the left, Lobov on the right. They posted images of their faces separately, making light of their battering.
Yet the extent of the brutality did not sit right with some seasoned viewers, especially give that Bare Knuckle FC is not thought to pay big purses to its fighters.
Niall McGrath on @niallmcgrath4 posted:
BKB is bollocks. Regardless of the UFC vets I’m surprised so many mma outlets are covering it. Stone Age stuff.
JE Snowden via @JESnowden added:
I saw the bareknuckle fight with Joey Beltran last year. Impressed by the courage. But I can’t support this. It’s bloodsport for pennies.
Yet other watchers hailed Lobov and Knight as warriors, including UFC legend Carlos ‘Natural Born Killer’ Condit. Lobov and McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, sent props to his fighter and his opponent, while UFC broadcaster Jon Anik also hailed both men, tweeting: “Lotta respect for these warriors”.
McGregor praised Lobov.
Conor McGregor via @TheNotoriousMMA posted:
What an animal! Proud of you @RusHammerMMA! Amazing fight
Paulie’s nice and quiet all of a sudden and that’s not like him haha
We want a new contract for the @RusHammerMMA for this next bout! It has been earned and now deserved! What a great showing @Jasonthekid23. Big respect!
Other prominent MMA commentators also had praise for the courage of the fighters
Coach Kavanagh via @John_Kavanagh said:
Huge congrats to The Russian Hammer @RusHammerMMA, what a fight! Hats off to Jason Knight taking those shots and never backing down.
While Mike Bohn via @MikeBohnMMA said:
Artem Lobov and Jason Knight just put on the most ridiculous bloodbath of a bare-knuckle fight.
Lobov beat Knight 48-47, 47-47, 48-46 and said he was a clear winner despite the awful damage both men sustained.
“I’ll let my face do the talking. I thought he was gone there many times. He’s a tough, tough kid. He kept coming and coming,” Lobov said.
Yet Knight claimed he was “robbed”.
“We all know I didn’t lose that damn fight. We all know I got robbed,” Knight said.