01 Jan BKFC president: Mike Tyson bare knuckle fight could produce ‘double or quadruple’ interest compared to Roy Jones Jr. bout
Before Mike Tyson opted to return for an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr., the former heavyweight champion was actually approached about competing in a sanctioned bare knuckle fighting event.
Earlier this year, David Feldman, president of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, reached out to Tyson’s team with an eight-figure offer to see if he’d be interested in competing for the promotion.
A deal was never struck and Tyson ultimately decided to come back for the matchup with Jones Jr. instead but Feldman knows he had a good idea in mind after watching the 55-year-old hitting pads with his coach Rafael Cordeiro.
“It’s just good for us to know we’re thinking the right way and thinking of things that are going to be outside the box,” Feldman told MMA Fighting when asked about Tyson’s return to the ring.
There has definitely been a lot of interest in the Tyson vs. Jones Jr. bout this weekend despite the fighters’ combined age at 105 years old with both coming off multi-year long layoffs.
While Feldman is taking a wait-and-see approach to potentially working with Tyson after Saturday night’s exhibition, he knows the interest would be huge if he actually crossed over to participate in a bare-knuckle bout.
“Here’s the thing — how many people are going to watch this fight? Everybody,” Feldman said. “Now just imagine, this is a quote-unquote sparring session. Not really a sparring session but let’s call it that cause that’s what they’re billing it as. Now imagine if he was to fight not a boxer but an MMA fighter in a bare-knuckle fight.
“It would double or quadruple the interest in this thing. So maybe something can happen after this fight. Who knows. Let’s see what Mike Tyson looks like on Saturday night. Let’s see how Roy Jones looks because who knows what could happen but I’m definitely going to be a very, very interested spectator.”
The rules put in place by the California State Athletic Commission state that Tyson and Jones Jr. are participating in an exhibition rather than a sanctioned fight. That’s been equated to a hard sparring session, although both fighters have cast doubt on the possibility that they will pull any punches in their bout.
Feldman definitely understands the rules surrounding an exhibition but he also knows what Tyson and Jones Jr. bring into the ring every time they compete.
“Look, they have different things in place right now that says you can do this, you can do that, but at the end of the day, I explained it like when I used to spar my brother all the time,” Feldman said. “Whoever landed the first shot, it turned into an all-out war every time that we sparred.
“Call it a sparring session or not, these are two of the best that ever did it. I would be very shocked if one of them hits the other with a good shot that it doesn’t turn into an all-out war. I’ll be very shocked at that.”
While no official winner will be declared, Feldman doesn’t expect there to be any question about who is the superior fighter when Tyson and Jones Jr. are finished — and he’ll most certainly be watching.
“I think there’s going to be a knockout even though technically they’re not allowed to have a knockout,” Feldman said. “I think there’s going to be a knockout but who knows what’s really going to happen. I do think it’s going to turn into a fight.
“So yes, to answer your question. If I thought it was just going to be an exhibition and I didn’t think they were going to end up exchanging blows, I probably wouldn’t be interested. But I’m definitely going to be tuning in for that fight.”