Bare Knuckle Boxing has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years with more North American jurisdictions legalizing the sport since Wyoming led the way as the first State to legalize BKB in 2018.
Data was presented at this year’s Association of Ringside Physicians annual conference by Dr. Don Muzzi giving the first glimpse into the injury rates in this sport as compared to gloved boxing and MMA.
Dr. Muzzi along with Dr. Guillem Lopez and Dr. John Neidecker collected data from regulated BKB events from June 2018 through September 2020. Over this period 131 bouts were recorded with 262 athlete exposures. All the bouts had an experienced ringside physician present.
The data revealed that while BKB led to an increased facial laceration rate for competitors the concussion rate was lower than that in gloved boxing and in mixed martial arts. Surprisingly the data also revealed that the hand fracture rate was actually lower in Bare Knuckle Boxing bouts than in gloved boxing or MMA.
Specifically 27.4% of competitors suffered facial lacerations. The hand fracture rate was 3.2% compared with a rate of 3.8% in MMA and 4.7% in gloved boxing.
The noted concussion rate, using the definition as a fighter who had symptoms of concussion when examined by the experience ringside physician, was 1.5% as compared to boxing with an estimated rate of 6-12% and MMA with a rate of 14.7%.