Jorge Masvidal Explains Why Naked Knuckle MMA Will Be A Knockout With Followers

Jorge Masvidal hasn't had time to enjoy retirement. He has already made the transition to life after the Octagon.

Following his loss to Gilbert Burns at UFC 287, Masvidal made his announcement in the Octagon. It was the right time — it was his fourth straight loss after beating Nate Diaz to win the “BMF belt” at UFC 244 — and doing it in front of his hometown Miami crowd was the right place, too .

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Though he won't be directing any more events, Masvidal will now create the fight maps in his new full-time role as fight promoter. The latest episode of Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA - which he calls "the most violent show on earth" - falls on Cinco de Mayo. According to Masvidal, Gamebred MMA is the first and only professional bareknuckle MMA league in the United States. The fights at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL will also be the first-ever sanctioned bareknuckle MMA fights in that state.

It is the fourth Gamebred battle map, the others were previously held in Biloxi, MS. As per the promotion, Gamebred MMA will follow the Unified Rules of MMA, but of course without gloves, with all bouts being three five-minute rounds.

The card will be headlined by former UFC veteran and Bellator heavyweight Roy "Big Country" Nelson versus Dillon "Bad Boy" Cleckler. Also on the card are two ex-UFC stars: PFL light heavyweight champion Emiliano Sordi vs. Markus Perez. The entire Gamebred map will be streamed live on Masvidal's YouTube and Facebook pages starting at 8pm ET. (It will also be streamed on the Gamebred Promotions YouTube and Facebook pages). The entire card includes:

  • Roy Nelson vs Dillon Cleckler
  • Emiliano Sordi versus Markus Perez
  • Donovan Beard vs. Handesson Ferreira
  • Joe Penefeil vs. Irwin Rivera
  • Jamahl Tatum versus Carl Seumanutafa
  • Sean Soriano vs. Ago Huskic
  • Anthony Njokuani vs James Freeman
  • Darion Abbey vs. Frank Tate
  • Charles Bennett vs. Keith Speed
  • Fidel Paulino versus Alexander Schenk
  • Juan Alvarez vs. Chris Wingate
  • Ryan Kuse vs. Drew Morais

This will be the fourth Gamebred Bareknuckle event, with the first being held in Biloxi, MX in May 2021. with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. EST on the day of. Fans can also tune in with the first fight starting at 6pm EST and the main map starting at 8pm EST.

With the card in a few days, newly retired MMF champion explains to M&F what it takes to make Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA an organization that will continue to attract top talent in the future.

Was there any hesitation in announcing your retirement after UFC TK?

You know, I said to my coach, 'Cut off the gloves,' and he was like, ', don't do it. Just wait." I thought this is where it started, this is where it should end, in my town [Miami]. Do it like this. Gilbert was a great fighter but I feel in my prime I could have beat him. But I just don't have the same motor speed from mind to body. So if I can't compete with the best in the world on a professional level, what do I do? There's a lot of guys I could beat up for days, but I signed up to fight the best in the world and I can't play at that top speed anymore.

So what will make Jorge Masvidal the best promoter in the game?

There are many great promoters out there but I will be different from everyone else because I am one of the few who have actually fought at all stages - I have worn every hat there is to wear in a fight from corner man to sparring partner, training partner. I did professional business with guys, you know, so I was like an unofficial manager to a lot of friends in the sport.

Leveling up is one of the things I like the most - my first thing I liked the most was obviously the competition, the fighting. The second thing I liked the most is the PhD. I'll take off with my own different route and sauce.

ne of these promoters have that, and you can see that happens because I have a different mindset. I have other visions in my eyes that I see from my 20 years of providing things I want to fix on the pro fighter side, things that don't mean anything that maybe I would have liked a little more attention to.

So why bare knuckles?

I get this question often. I started Bare Knuckle - a lot of people were happy for me with Bare Knuckle for the first time. So I always felt like I wanted to start a bare knuckle league and see how it would go, there is no such thing as bare knuckle MMA. And when you're talking about what comes closest, a real-life fight, that's pretty much it. And it's not just for strikers, it's also for grappling, because now you don't have those big, bulky gloves on the pad that kind of mess you up. So even for grapplers it's more realistic for actual combat and I just love it. At the end of the day, whether it's a knockout or a submission, the placements will go through the roof when you take off the gloves.

Is everyone ready for bare knuckle fighting? Is it as brutal as the name suggests?

It might even be worse than it sounds. If you don't like that then I get it, you can leave, there's 100 other sports you might like, you know, but there's that, that determination and desire - and violence. So in the beginning it won't be for everyone, buy, it will slowly catch on,

Is the world big enough for another battle league?

Definitely, especially one like mine. You're looking at the world's #1 promoter, Dana White. The #2 in advertising doesn't have a social media following like Dana White. So I'm just going to swamp everyone when it comes to attracting fight fans. Some of them might just be more fans of me because of political views or things I've done, but for the most part, about 85% of my audience are fight fans. So when you talk about promotion, it's like nobody in that field messes with me. Except of course Dana White who is the king of Ascension Kings.

How do you sell your league to fighters?

We spoke to their team and put some numbers on paper and once we agree, the next thing we need to do is put them on paper in order to implement them.

You know a lot of these fighters also know that I have a reputation - I've been fighting in real combat for 20 years and they know the platform I bring. You know we're going to bring as many eyeballs to the sport as we can.

Was a Cinco De Mayo fight card intended?

Oh yeah. Our fight will be sort of a prelude to Formula 1 taking place here in South Florida [this weekend]. It's like welcoming F1 to South Florida with a bang. We've got Big Country, Roy Nelson - 19 finishes, 16 of them knockouts - against Dillon Cleckler. We also have some other big boys on the show. We're pumped.

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