Diego Sanchez is switching to bare-knuckle fights after mixed martial arts. The former Ultimate Fighter season 1 contestant and UFC old hand have signed a contract to become a part of the BKFC lineup. On February 17 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he will compete in the co-main event of KnuckleMania 3 against professional boxer Austin Trout.
From November of last year, there have been speculations that Diego Sanchez will square up with a former boxing world champion in a bare-knuckle boxing contest. The contest, however, had not yet been set in stone since Jerome O'Connell, the athletic commissioner for New Mexico, had declined to grant Sanchez the go-ahead to fight because of worries about his mental condition.
But after receiving a 3-1 vote from the NMAC just the other day, Sanchez has ultimately been given the all-clear to earn his BKFC debut following several neurological examinations.
Nolan Kings, an MMA writer, announced the news first on his own Twitter account, posting:
"Diego Sanchez vs. Austin Trout was green-lighted at a New Mexico Athletic Commission (NMAC) meeting earlier today on a 3-1 vote. After some initial concerns, Sanchez provided additional medical testing and received approval for the #BKFC bout."
After leaving the UFC, Sanchez briefly considered engaging in a bare-knuckle fight, but he eventually decided against it and accepted a contract with Eagle FC. Nevertheless, Eagle FC hasn't sponsored any events in the United States ever since the previous event in March 2021, when Sanchez dropped a close decision to Kevin Lee in his debut. On BKFC's largest card of the year, Sanchez will therefore step into bare-knuckle action with a star clash.
After signing a contract with the organization in late 2022, multi-time boxing champion Trout will also be staging his BKFC debut. Trout has fought some legendary boxers throughout his journey, notably Miguel Cotto in 2012 and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Jermell, and Jermall Charlo.
It will be interesting to observe whether Diego Sanchez can find his composure and get back into the game with his upcoming fight.