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BKFC Partners with RIZIN to Bring Bare-Knuckle Action to Japan



BKFC partners with RIZIN
David Feldman

BKFC is set to make a historic move into Japan through a groundbreaking partnership with RIZIN Fighting Federation, beginning this July.


This collaboration marks a significant expansion for BKFC, as it brings its unique brand of bare-knuckle fighting to Japanese shores and across Southeast Asia, while RIZIN fighters will have the opportunity to compete in BKFC bouts.


BKFC founder and president David Feldman announced the partnership on The MMA Hour, highlighting the fruitful discussions with RIZIN leader Nobuyuki Sakakibara that led to this exciting venture.


“Today we get to announce the official partnership with BKFC and RIZIN to produce Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship shows in Japan and all over the southeast Asia region, as well as assist RIZIN with whatever else they need from around the world,” Feldman said. “We’re really super excited about this partnership and to partner with such a legend like Sakakibara.”


The collaboration kicks off with RIZIN fighters crossing over to compete in BKFC events, starting with a highly anticipated appearance on July 12 at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. This event will feature marquee fights, including Tai Emery versus Charisa Sigala and reigning BKFC flyweight champion John Dodson against a yet-to-be-named RIZIN opponent in a bare-knuckle bout. Dodson, who has previously fought for RIZIN, will bring his experience to this new, hard-hitting format.


Sakakibara, renowned for founding PRIDE FC before launching RIZIN in 2015, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership and the introduction of bare-knuckle fighting to Japanese fans.


“We truly feel the potential of BKFC,” Sakakibara said. “I do believe this is happening all over the world in the combat sports industry, is that everything is kind of being still and all the fans are looking for a new movement. They’re looking for new action. Exactly what’s happening in Japan."


"They want more excitement. We do believe that BKFC has everything it takes to deliver that new excitement over here.”


The partnership doesn’t end with a few crossover events. Feldman revealed plans for a full-fledged BKFC card in Japan, targeted for late 2024 or early 2025. Until then, both organizations will continue their talent exchange and co-promoted events, opening new possibilities for fighters and fans alike.


This partnership promises to bring a new level of excitement to combat sports in Japan, with BKFC's intense bare-knuckle bouts and RIZIN's dynamic fighters creating a unique and thrilling spectacle.

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