Boxing And MMA Are Safer Than Bare Knuckle Boxing…Or Is It?

Let Pick apart Some Factors To Get To The Truth


Is Bare Knuckle Boxing safer than gloved combat? While most think so most may be wrong.


A question that you will here come up in many conversations regarding bare knuckle boxing is: Is it more dangerous than gloved combat? On first sight, it may appear that there is no way that it could possibly be safer. With all that believe in that statement, I may have some bad news for you that is backed up with actual facts. I myself was wondering the same thing so the research began, and what I found out not only made sense but it was shocking.

The Standards For Professional Fighting.

Boxing Match – A combat sport in which two people, throw punches at each other for a predetermined set of time in a boxing ring. The standard glove at the professional level is a 10-ounce glove.

MMA Fight – A full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts. The standard glove used at the professional level is a 4-ounce glove.

Bare Knuckle Boxing – A combat sport in which two people, throw punches at each other for a predetermined set of time in a boxing ring. No gloves are worn and the wrists are wrapped.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship: The History

Bare knuckle boxing has been banned in the United States for some time. BKB FC recently broke the mold while holding the first sanctioned bare knuckle fights in over 100 years.

June 2, 2018, in Cheyenne, Wyoming history was made when Bare Knuckle FC 1 began. The fights were exciting, action-packed, and well worth the price of admission. I did have a chance to read some of the feedback regarding this event and watched it via pay-per-view. There were some comments that made this style of fighting sound like gladiators killing each other with arrows from a chariot. Obviously, it was nowhere near that extent, but I wanted to see what research could be dug up regarding the safety of it all.

A Harsh Reality

While bare knuckle boxing, modern day boxing, and MMA fights all have their share of damage being dealt the visuals that you get does not mean one is safer than the other. Boxing has had its share of blood and swelling to the point that it has taken on the form of an alien.

A mixed martial arts event is also not excused. The worst cuts that I have witnessed were during MMA fights. Unlike boxing kicks, knees, and elbows have been landed causing some large cuts to various areas.

Bare Knuckle Boxing takes the win in the category of blood. If a fight does not end early you can be certain that there will be clean up. Swelling goes away and cuts can be fixed. While they may appear very bad most are visual wounds.

Which Way Is The Safest For The Fighters?

Boxing introduced a heavier glove that covers the entire hand with thicker padding and supports the wrist. MMA provides a less padded glove with wrist support and open fingers. Bare Knuckle Boxing is just that. Wrapped wrist only. When the idea of the boxing glove came to be it was not created for the safety of the fighter. It was created for the business to thrive. Any padded glove provides a few qualities in common. It protects the hands of the fighter, it allows fewer cuts and open wound damage to the face of an opponent, and it may soften the blow of a strike. When I say soften I do not mean the power behind the punch, but the initial surface to surface contact.


Reading Between The Lines.
When a fighter is able to throw hundreds of punches with a lesser chance of breaking a hand he or she will. That means there is a higher volume in every fight. It also means that his opponent can take more of those punches with a lesser fear of being cut and having a fight stopped. For anyone who has been in a fight outside of a cage or ring, they will know that every punch they take hurts and every punch landed hurts. So why is this information important? There has been an increase in traumatic brain injuries in the world of combat sport. The group of granite chinned fighters will continue to take punishment to get to a position that they need to win. The same punishment could not be taken or given with the lack of gloves. While it may seem barbaric to the eye it is actually less damaging to all parties involved.

There Is Something Odd Going On.

Boxing is widespread throughout the country so this portion does not pertain. In 2016 MMA was adopted and made legal in all 50 states. What makes a strike with a knee or elbow any safer than a bare hand? Nothing is the correct answer. A knee is actually more damaging when landed. When you get into the talk of elbows that has an additional risk. While an elbow can be as hard if not harder than a bare-handed strike it also turns into a razor blade for the face. More than enough fights have been stopped due to glancing elbows causing damage to the point that a doctor has to step in.

A Recap Of Facts:

Can dish out more damage with less fear of hand injury.
Can absorb more damage with less fear of surface wounds.
Can fight longer due to the facts mentioned above.

Can dish out more damage with less fear of hand injury.
Due to a lighter less padded glove there is a greater risk than boxing.
Can absorb more hand strikes with less fear of surface wounds.
Unprotected elbows and knees can cause massive damage, even more so than an ungloved fists.

Bare Knuckle Boxing:
Less damage dished out due to the potential of a hand injury, punches are thrown strategically.
Can not absorb as many strikes due to the potential of surface wounds and cuts causing a fight to be stopped. Fighters are mindful to not just take shots to create a shot.
Fights are overall shorter due to the nature of the sport which means less damage overall is given and received.

At a quick glance it would seem that gloves make for a safer sport, but in reality, this is simply not true. Once the facts in are one place it becomes very obvious. I invite you to do the research yourself as well, and you will find that you have the exact same results.

Testing In The Field:
I was thinking of how to test the theory myself and only came up with one way. Take a punch to the face with a boxing glove. Have the same person punch you with an MMA glove. Then let them strike you one last time bare-knuckled. Make the decision on which one you liked the least. Bare-knuckle should be the answer meaning shorter fights with less damage over a period of time. Rather than run this experiment I know that there are fighters who have participated in two or all of these events that can explain from real life experience.

Fun Fact:
This should be noted because it directly pertains to the topic. In the history of bare-knuckle boxing there has never been a death on record due to a fight. In other combat sports, they average roughly 4 a year.

Moving Forward:
Bare knuckle boxing is now legal in two states. Wyoming which was mentioned earlier and now Mississippi. On August 25, 2018, in Biloxi, Missippi Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 2: A New Era will be taking place. An event to not miss judging by the massive popularity of the promotions first installment.

To find out more about Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship click here.

To purchase the PPV and experience it for yourself click here.

If you are in the area and want to see it live tickets can be purchased here.

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