Following the mainstream revival of bare-knuckle boxing in the last few years, many MMA veterans have been rumored to compete in the various bare-knuckle promotions that have formed across the world.
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For some, the chance to scratch that competitive itch is enough to sign-up, while for others, financial gain or the opportunity to settle old scores is too persuasive to turn down.
Over the last year, one contest that has been talked about more than most is a bout between UFC veterans Brad Pickett and Vaughan Lee. The two Englishman competed back in 2007 at Cage Rage, with Pickett walking out victorious, and the two bantamweights seem interested in running it back, this time, in the bare-knuckle arena.
In a recent interview with The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko, Valor Bare Knuckle champion Mark Godbeer, who is also a close training partner of Lee, discussed the potential clash and while the bout certainly isn’t confirmed yet, to Godbeer’s knowledge, there is definitely interest from both sides.
“This is how it is,” Godbeer explained. “I know Vaughan personally, and he’s been retired for a while, but he has a similar mindset to myself when it comes to BKB; if you’re a true combat sports guy, it’s something you have to tick off before you retire. I know Vaughan wants to fight in bare-knuckle and is actually training for it. I think him vs. Brad Pickett would be an absolutely cracking fight, and Valor seem to have jumped all over it.
“Vaughan is game, Brad’s game, so now I guess it’s just down to contracts and the business side of it. I can see it happening, and what a fight it would be. It would be potentially one of the biggest new-age bare-knuckle fights to date. They’re both so skillful, the way they both move and punch; it would be an absolute tear-up.”
While Lee has no experience in the bare-knuckle arena, Pickett is currently 1-0 in the savage science. “One Punch” made his debut at BKB 16 and knocked out Mark Handley in devastating fashion. While since, Pickett has barely discussed stepping back into the ring, it’s unlikely he would turn down the opportunity if the price is right, especially against a former foe like Lee.
“I know Brad’s had a little taste of bare-knuckle boxing and I’m sure he wants a bit more of a challenge,” Godbeer said. “He’s got one in Vaughan Lee if he wants it. It’s just a matter of who’s willing to get contracts to these guys. I hope it’s Valor, I think Valor would be the best platform to do it on. Let’s see what happens, it definitely excites me.”
Student and sports fan in England with a passion for the sweet science of MMA