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‘I assumed it was loopy’: Now a believer, Chris Lytle sees similarities between BKFC and UFC early days

Chris Lytle remembers the first time he heard of bareknuckle fighting. “I thought it was crazy,” Lytle recently told MMA Junkie. “I said, ‘What’s wrong with those guys? Who would do bareknuckle fighting?” Lytle first saw bareknuckle boxing in 2017 when he came across a clip of friend and fellow UFC alumnus Joe Riggs chucking

‘I assumed it was loopy’: Now a believer, Chris Lytle sees similarities between BKFC and UFC early days


Chris Lytle remembers the primary time he heard of bareknuckle preventing.

“I assumed it was loopy,” Lytle just lately informed MMA Junkie. “I mentioned, ‘What’s unsuitable with these guys? Who would do bareknuckle preventing?”

Lytle first noticed bareknuckle boxing in 2017 when he got here throughout a clip of buddy and fellow UFC alumnus Joe Riggs chucking knuckles with opponent Christian Evans in Coventry, England, beneath the BKB banner.

On the time, bareknuckle boxing was not sanctioned by any state commissioning physique in the USA.

“I like Joe (Riggs) and was like, ‘What the hell is unsuitable with him?’ I watched his battle and midway by it, I mentioned, ‘I must do a battle.’ My thoughts completely modified,” Lytle mentioned. “As quickly as I watched it, I used to be like, ‘This isn’t what I assumed. This isn’t what it appears like.’”

Lytle made a world telephone name. Twelve months later, he fought for BKB. When bareknuckle was lastly sanctioned in a handful of states within the U.S., Lytle was one of many first MMA notables to lift his hand.

“Sadly, I’ve realized I’ve the guts and the thoughts of a fighter,” Lytle mentioned. “I all the time have. That’s not going to go away. However ultimately, it’s a must to cease doing that. The human mind ought to solely accomplish that a lot. There’s a finite variety of punches you’ll be able to take earlier than there’s an issue. … I’d battle till I’m 80, however you’ll be able to’t do this. I really like the bareknuckle for one purpose that individuals don’t give it sufficient credit score for. It’s a lot simpler in your physique to coach for a bareknuckle battle.”

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BILOXI, MS – AUGUST 25: Chris Lytle fights Drew Lipton in the course of the Naked Knuckle Combating Championship 2: A New Period at Mississippi Coast Coliseum on August 25, 2018 in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Picture by Chris Graythen/Getty Photos)

As he acquired extra concerned, part of Lytle’s conscience from years prior was tapped into. A veteran of 20 fights beneath the UFC banner, Lytle was scratching and clawing his manner within the Wild West of MMA within the late Nineties and early 2000s.

The rejection of a overseas violence kind is just like that of what the UFC underwent, Lytle defined. BKFC is an acquired style, however Lytle thinks it solely takes one sitting to understand you need to indulge extra.

“I really feel like I went again in a time machine in some methods,” Lytle mentioned. “I used to be round. I fought for the UFC for the primary time in 2000. That was earlier than Dana White and Zuffa was concerned, and I began preventing for them usually in 2003. I noticed the expansion. I noticed it come from nothing, an underground factor individuals thought you have been a lunatic for doing, to the mainstream. It’s wonderful. I used to be there for that transition. Now, I see so many parallels and so many related trajectories that we’re going by with BKFC. I really feel like I went again in time. Like, who will get to be on the creation of a sport twice of their life? That’s such a rarity that this occurs. I really feel like I’m a novel place to assist information this and assist keep away from some pitfalls. I really feel prefer it took the UFC so much longer to make it. For us, it’s going to be a lot sooner.”

BILOXI, MS – AUGUST 25: Chris Lytle fights Drew Lipton in the course of the Naked Knuckle Combating Championship 2: A New Period at Mississippi Coast Coliseum on August 25, 2018 in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Picture by Chris Graythen/Getty Photos)

Lytle discovered a manner to assist, and the game helped him again. Dozens of occasions into his BKFC lead colour commentator gig, Lytle has the bareknuckle bug working by his veins. He travels throughout the nation with broadcast associate Sean Wheelock as the 2 attempt to concurrently describe what they see, whereas additionally determining how an embryonic fight sport develops.

“Sean is like that basketball participant who simply dribbles round,” Lytle mentioned. “He has three guys on him, dribbles by his legs, throws an alley-oop up, and all I’ve to do is leap up and dunk it. He pitches me softballs, and all I’ve to do is hit them. It’s so good working with him. He makes it really easy. Once we have been first commentating, he was like, ‘All proper, Chris. You’ve been a cornerman for a few years. Simply faux you’re the cornerman. However as an alternative of ready between rounds, simply inform what you’re seeing.’ So now I simply go on the market and faux I’m the cornerman for each guys.”

As for the longer term, Lytle goals to assist BKFC develop in no matter manner he can. He thinks a serious streaming deal will do the promotion’s wonders. BKFC president David Feldman has teased a deal is within the works, although no additional particulars have been revealed.

Product publicity is the secret proper now, Lytle mentioned. He continues to make use of his personal expertise falling in love with bareknuckle because the blueprint.

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“The UFC actually took off when it acquired on SPIKE TV,” Lytle mentioned. “Individuals actually noticed numerous points of it. I don’t care if individuals see the background. I don’t care if individuals see the fighters for who they’re. Simply seeing these fights, if individuals see these fights, they’re going to go mad. That is entertaining. That is enjoyable. I’d like to speak to individuals and say, ‘Are you a UFC fan? Are you an MMA fan?’ … Most individuals are UFC followers. Loads of these individuals don’t even prefer it when it goes to the bottom. You’re a BKFC fan, and also you don’t understand it. When you watch what we do, you’ll assume it’s far more entertaining, and also you’ll prefer it.

“We simply should get individuals to see it. As soon as they see it just a few occasions, they’re going to love it, and so they’re going to be hooked, and so they’re going to look at it. I simply really feel like we’re on a distinct path. All we’ve to do is get individuals to see us. … I don’t see many individuals ever who come and say, ‘Eh, that was all proper.’ Individuals love us as soon as they watch us. We’ve simply acquired to get individuals to see us for the primary time.”

Remember to go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of fight sports activities.

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