David Feldman Discusses Fans Attending BKFC 11 in a Reduced Capacity

Jason Knight and David Feldman
Jason Knight with David Feldman Credit: Ryan Nixon/BKFC

BKFC 11 goes down live and free on Friday, July 24 in Oxford, Mississippi. While most of BKFC’s history has played out on PPV, this event is available on the Bare Knuckle TV app and on the BKFC Youtube page as well. It marks the return for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship after COVID-19 related hiatus. The company’s last show was in February and the bare-knuckle boxing powerhouse looks to return with a bang. BKFC promotional figurehead David Feldman took time to speak with Cageside Press ahead of this comeback event.

The fans are back in the building

The last few months have been a touch unpredictable for everyone. Therefore, BKFC had to deal with a fair bit of uncertainty. “We wanted to do a show. Had a show scheduled in March that didn’t happen. We planned a show actually at the beginning of May. People just looked at us a little funny. So we didn’t want to do anything that was going to upset people. We also wanted to be very conscious of everybody’s health and safety.”

There have been some hurdles ahead of this one for sure. Above all though, BKFC 11 is now just hours away.

“We thought there was going to be a lot of obstacles but it’s crazy. We’ve lost three fighters so far to COVID-19, or someone on their team tested with COVID,” Feldman said. “We have anther testing going on tomorrow morning with all the fighters. So fingers crossed we don’t lose anyone else. It’s been very, very difficult but at the same time very rewarding. We do get to put on an event right now for the fans.”

A key difference with this event as compared to some other returning promotions is that BKFC will actually have some fans in attendance.

“I believe we’re the first live sporting event in the United States with fans. I could be wrong with that but I think that we are,” proclaimed Feldman. “We don’t have full fans. We’re allowed to do 25 percent capacity. We’re keeping it around 15 percent. But it’s a big place and we’re still going to have a thousand people in attendance. It’s going to be really fun just to hear the atmosphere of the crowds.”


Isaac Vallie Flagg vs. Luis Palomino for the inaugural 155lb title is the main event at BKFC 11. There are many reasons why this was a no brainer to top the marquee for Friday’s return show. The original plan, however, was to have Jim Alers headline the event.

“Isaac has always been on our radar. He’s a very good fighter. He’s 3-0 in bare-knuckle. He just wanted to get back in action. It just didn’t make a lot of sense with where we were and we really didn’t have an opportunity for him,” said Feldman. “We were absolutely looking at him to maybe fight the winner of this thing (prior to Alers dropping out)… He has an opportunity to fight for the inaugural 155lb championship. So I take my hat off to Isaac to take this fight on a lite over two weeks notice.”

BKFC Toe The Line

BKFC has plans to promote Toe The Line fight series to grow younger stars. Ideally, a monthly BKFC show will go down and probably three or four Toe The Line shows through the remainder of 2020. The promotion is ideally looking at doing 8 or 10 events by end of year. Feldman noted a past knock on BKFC from some is that they use more tenured, older fighters to draw. The plan is to grow fresh stars in a grassroots way with this new platform.

For instance, Dillon Cleckler vs. Frank Tate is a fight that is emblematic of BKFC’s efforts to promote new blood in the sport.

“That is my pick for fight of the night, Dillon Cleckler vs. Frank Tate. These guys are going to stand in the middle of the ring and bang it out. Really, it’s whoever connects first,” predicted Feldman. “Because although they’re both great MMA fighters, very good MMA fighters, fought the toughest in the world— but this is bare-knuckle. It’s a different thing when they get hit and I think they’re going to find that out… I think we do have a star in the making with Dillon Cleckler. We’ll see what happens.”

BKFC’s return

Codie Shuffield is one of the Mississippi native’s slated for the card and lack of local fanfare is not something he needs to worry about. “Codie did fight in Bellator. He’s a pro boxer. An MMA fighter. He’s like the mayor of this town, it’s crazy,” noted Feldman. “Everywhere he goes people are like ‘hey, Codie Shuffield. Codie Shuffield.’ So he’s got a good personality. Something we can really build.”

Elvin Brito vs. Kaleb Harris is the fight on the card that could generate that highlight reel stoppage. The gif or video that’s shared ad nauseum on the night of the event.

“They’re both owners of knockouts of the night. They’re both owners of viral one-punch knockout videos,” said Feldman. “It’s who hits who first is how I think it’s going to go…That’s who’s going to take control of this fight. But I’m really, really looking forward to that. I do see if Kaleb does win, I think Kaleb does have the star power quality with him.”

Future of BKFC

Despite the hiatus, the organization has been steadily making moves behind the scenes. “We have a lot of things coming. We have a huge, huge signing coming up. I think we’re going to take everyone by surprise. Probably announce that in the next week or two. It’s really going to move the needle for us.”

Shannon Briggs is among one of the big-name signees that BKFC has brought on in the last few months. Feldman was able to provide some level of clarity for what the organization has planned for Shannon the Cannon’s BKB debut.

“We talked about that earlier but that probably won’t happen until right around January or February,” he stated. “Think things are going to open up and we’d like to do that one in Miami. We have a partnership deal with the Hard Rock Stadium down there with the Super Bowl. They want us to host an event down there and we’re going to. I think that would be a great spot for him.”


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