A few years back I started documenting the legality of bare knuckle boxing which was first legalized by a State athletic commission in 2019 and had several other jurisdictions follow suit all with their own unique legal and regulatory framework.
Bare knuckle mixed martial arts is now making a similar comeback and appears to be closely following the path carved out by bare knuckle boxing. This thread will document where bare knuckle MMA is legal and the regulatory landscape.
- The first bare knuckle MMA event of the modern era is scheduled to take place in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 18, 2021. The event will be promoted by UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal under the banner Gamebred FC. Mississippi was one of the first states to legalize bare knuckle boxing using the ‘we can waive our own rules‘ rule. Presumably the same legal leniency is being used to clear the way for the return of BKMMA. I confirmed with one of the individuals involved in the event that this card was cleared using “the unified rules of MMA, just minus the gloves“
- Masvidal’s promotion is scheduled for a follow up event in Miami on August 6, 2021. This will make Florida the second state to hold a BKMMA event. Florida, like Mississippi, was one of the first state’s to legalize BK Boxing. They did so using an amusing interpretation of their rules requiring gloves finding the legislation does not say gloves need to cover knuckles. Presumably the MMA bouts will have some sort of heavy hand wraps that the regulator will deem to be ‘gloves’.
- I have been advised that the Wyoming Combat Sports Commission approved a BKMMA event promoted by Sparta Combat League in 2020. That would actually give that jurisdiction the distinction of being first in the modern era. I have reached out to the regulator for confirmation. It is worth noting that Wyoming was the very first state to legalize Bare Knuckle Boxing doing so on the basis that the sport is a variant of Mixed Martial Arts. (Update – I have now confirmed this occured and here is video of the first ever regulated BKMMA event)