BKFC: Hart eyes Savage grudge match but also wants to serve Ferea a ‘humble pie’

Just three weeks after her sensational win against former UFC star Paige VanZant in the main event of the BKFC KnuckleMania, Britain Hart is already back in training.

She’s hoping that her next fight would be for the title after her heart-stopping win against VanZant.

“I’m still on Cloud 9 obviously. I’m more motivated than ever that’s why I’m out here in Puerto Rico training. That [win] has changed my life,” Hart told Empire Sports Media via zoom call.

 While she hopes her next fight would be for the title, she’s also setting her sights on Jenny Savage, who made a scene during Hart’s KnuckleMania post-fight interview.

“After I won over [Randine] Eckholm in BKFC 14, I called Paige out and Paige took it the liberty to come to the ring with me, so I really think that anyone who has the guts and the courage to come to the ring and challenge me in the ring when I’m on my fight night deserves to lose to me,” Hart said.

“Jenny Savage came in and was pretty disrespectful coming to the ring on my main event moment. So honestly, I wanna say Jenny Savage is next. I gotta show her the same thing I had to show Paige. You don’t come to the ring with me on my fight night.”

The brewing rivalry between the two bare-knuckle boxers apparently started after Hart got the Paige VanZant fight which Savage also wanted.

It picked up steam when Savage made her BKFC debut last December with Hart as a guest fight commentator.

Hart said she went to Savage to congratulate her on her second-round stoppage of Sheena Starr at BKFC 15. She was complimentary of the Tennesee Gangster’s “really good overhand.” But Savage instead took offense and answered back: “That’s not my best punch. You haven’t seen my best punch yet.”

Hart-Ferea word war

BKFC President and CEO David Feldman earlier told Empire Sports Media that he’s also looking at a potential Hart-Christine Ferea rematch.

Ferea recently dismissed a Hart rematch.

“I just want whoever is next. I can’t say anybody specifically because I don’t know. Do I want Britain Hart? No, because I beat her. I know I’ll beat her again. I know she’s made some improvements. But she’s made improvements against people that are nothing close to my level. So I feel like she needs a little bit more time in order to catch up, to be able to have some chance in a fight with me,” Ferea told mymmanews.com recently.

Hart was visibly pissed upon learning Ferea’s comments and blew her top.

“It’s a ridiculous statement. Anybody could look at that Paige VanZant [fight]. Christine, I’m sorry to hate on you, like mad respect to you. The fact that I beat a UFC veteran, a UFC athlete who trains in the American Top Team, again on what level are you putting yourself on? Misfit isn’t undefeated in the BKFC. She’s beatable. Helen [Peralta] did it. The fact that she’s already saying she’s a level above fighters that come from the UFC and Bellator and other things like that, just shows where her mind is and her mind is not in the right place,” Hart said.

Hart said that she’s tired of Ferea’s flip-flopping statements and added that Ferea’s win against her isn’t convincing enough not to warrant a rematch.

“She’s flip-floppy. ‘One minute, I’m retiring from BKFC, and then the next minute, oh give me someone next. Britain Hart is the same fighter, Britain Hart has made improvements.’ I’m tired of her back-and-forth, wish-washy stuff. The rematch? Yeah for sure. Again, she didn’t knock me down. I never hit the canvass with her. I got a doctor’s stoppage with that cut under my eye. The fact that she even wants to say that’s a glorious knockout is just ridiculous. You don’t have to like me as a fighter and like her as a fighter,” Hart said.

Ferea holds a 3-1 record in the BKFC and was the first woman to win the Police Gazette title. Her lone loss came at the hands of Peralta in 2019 in what is considered to be one of the best BKFC fights of the year.

Ferea last saw action in September last year when she stopped Callie Cutler via second-round TKO. She stunned everyone when she announced on her Instagram last January that she’s retiring from BKFC.

But she was quick to come out of retirement and announced that she’d be fighting in May.

“I guess she’s just salty that she’s not the center of the attention and the limelight is not on her. So she’s gonna come up with any story she wants. She knows she does not want to fight me. Of course, she doesn’t want to fight me because I’m getting better. I just beat Paige VanZant. I don’t know what she’s on. She lost mad respect from me. I can’t respect someone who changes their statements. Be real. Be yourself. All her entitlement. If you want that humble pie and a wake-up call, then you got me. If you don’t want it, then we all know why,” Hart said.

Both are intriguing matches. But whichever BKFC decides to hold next, Hart is ready for it.

“We have big plans out here [in my training camp]. And when I get back to the US, I’ll train every day because I’m coming for that title. I’m coming for my redemption. I’m coming for anyone who steps in the ring and challenges me,” Hart boldly declared.

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BKFC mulls Britain Hart-Christine Ferea rematch

Britain Hart’s smashing win over former UFC star Paige VanZant in the BKFC KnuckleMania two weeks ago could line her up for a potential title fight — a rematch against Christine Ferea.

Hart’s first title shot ended in a split decision against Bec Rawlings in 2019. After scoring two straight victories, Hart believes she’s ready for another title shot.

No less than BKFC President and CEO David Feldman is intrigued by that potential rematch for the vacant featherweight title.

“[Britain] is calling for a title fight. She’s lost to Christine Ferea in the past. I think it will be a great rematch because she’s learned a lot about the sport more,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media. [Britain] is gritty. She’s tough and I think that could be a tough fight. It’s definitely something that we’re looking at right now.”

Hart lost to Ferea in both fighters’ second fight in the promotion back in 2019. A nasty cut in Hart’s left eye following a barrage of punches from Ferea forced a doctor’s stoppage in the second round.

Hart is eager to avenge that loss. But Ferea, who announced that she’d fight in May, isn’t keen on a rematch with Hart.

“I just want whoever is next. I can’t say anybody specifically because I don’t know. Do I want Britain Hart? No, because I beat her. I know I’ll beat her again. I know she’s made some improvements. But she’s made improvements against people that are nothing close to my level. So I feel like she needs a little bit more time in order to catch up, to be able to have some chance in a fight with me,” Ferea told mymmanews.com recently.

Another option for Hart is an immediate rematch with VanZant or a non-title fight against Jenny Savage, who called her out after her KnuckleMania win.

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Shaquille O’Neal nears investor deal with BKFC after KnuckleMania success

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is closing in on a deal that will make him an investor in the company.

The two parties have advanced past preliminary talks following the smashing success of BKFC’s KnuckleMania last weekend in Florida.

O’Neal sat at ringside and presented the BKFC bantamweight belt to Dat Nguyen in the BKFC’s latest pay-per-view event that drew record numbers for the two-year-old company.

“We’re working out the details right now. He’s very interested. [Shaq] loves the product. [He] loves what we’re doing. I think he adds tons to value to us,” BKFC founder and CEO David Feldman told Empire Sports Media in a phone interview. “We’re dealing with his team now and tying all the loose ends, but I think it’s gonna be a done deal. Everybody in the world knows who Shaq is. He’ll be a great addition to our family.”

Record numbers

The KnuckleMania was the first combat sports event in the US to have live fans, thanks to stringent health protocols which BKFC put in place.

In the main event, BKFC’s homegrown star Britain Hart beat former UFC fighter Paige VanZant via unanimous decision.

The new fast-paced and exciting combat sport founded by Feldman in 2018 has made a steady rise, which peaked over last weekend’s fights.

“It looks like we’re trending towards the 100,000-mark of live viewers in the United States. And worldwide—we had international deals this time—the feedback from the networks that we sold to, it looks like about anywhere between 12 and 15 million live viewers,” Feldman said.

And one of those captured by BKFC’s rapid growth is O’Neal, who has been following them for a while now.

Shaq is a huge BKFC fan

O’Neal told USA Today that BKFC is the “future of fighting” and called its fighters “the toughest athletes in the world” for not using gloves. O’Neal also revealed that he came across the new sport through a friend.

“He was watching it on TV a lot, and he started communicating with us, and then in December he came to our event, and he really, really liked it. It piqued his interest even more, and we’re almost there [with the deal],” Feldman said. 

The unassuming BKFC CEO did not believe at first that O’Neal was a huge fan. 

“He reached out and said, ‘I love what you guys are doing…’ Then I message back, ‘Is this really Shaq?’ Then he put a video up and said, ‘Who else would it be?’ And it was pretty cool,” Feldman recalled.

From then on, O’Neal and Feldman were in constant communication. After the NBA Bubble last year, O’Neal finally had a chance to watch a BKFC event live.

Everybody is calling

Aside from the looming partnership with O’Neal, Feldman also shared that a couple of networks have reached out to him after the KnuckleMania.

“We’re definitely in talks right now. We are building our brand, which is the Bare Knuckle TV, and we have our app, but we definitely want to have a platform/partnership [with an established TV network] because it will just add more eyeballs, and that’s coming. It’s certainly coming,” Feldman said.

The BKFC will have their next event dubbed as “Bare Knuckle Kingdom” 1 in Thailand on March 5, and Feldman said, “international expansion is definitely on the horizon.”

“We have a fight in the UK during the first weekend of April. As far as really going global expansion, it’s obviously right now just depends when COVID-19 goes away or subsides,” said Feldman. “The plan is to take this everywhere. Everybody is calling.”

Groups from Africa, Japan, Russia, and Brazil have shown interest in hosting BKFC events. Even fighters from boxing and MMA have sent feelers to join their organization.

“They’re all reaching out. Some top UFC fighters came in during the weigh-in and the press conferences, and I said, ‘You know, you’re gonna like this new sport, and they all said, ‘Nah.’ Then after the fight, they all came over and said to me, ‘This is amazing! I can’t wait to do this,'” Feldman said.

Feldman also can’t wait for what’s coming next for BKFC.

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Paige VanZant open to fight Bec Rawlings in BKFC on one condition

Will a Paige VanZant-Bec Rawlings rematch happen in BKFC?

Back in December, Rawlings floated her interest to fight VanZant in BKFC.

“With Bare-Knuckle signing Paige, it’s definitely garnered a lot of interest in people wondering if I’m going to fight her,” Rawlings told mmafighting.com. “I would love that fight. [I’m] sure we could probably try to work something out with Bellator and Bare Knuckle, doing a cross-promotion thing. I don’t know, I’d be down for that. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

But when asked for her reaction, VanZant isn’t as excited as Rawlings about the prospect of a rematch.

“Of course, she wants to fight me again. I knocked her out with a head kick the last time we fought. [I’m] really interested in fighting people who I haven’t fight yet or haven’t beaten. So if she wants to come back to BKFC, that’s totally fine, and if the matchup makes sense, but I’m in Bare Knuckle Boxing working my way in the division for a title. And I just don’t want to fight people because they want to call me out,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media in an exclusive interview last Tuesday ahead of her BKFC debut against Britain Hart.

Aching for Payback

VanZant will headline BKFC’s Knucklemania tonight, and if she emerges victorious, a Rawlings rematch could be in the pipeline.

Rawlings has a perfect 3-0 record in BKFC, including a split decision against Hart, before she returned to MMA via Bellator.

The Australian brawler wants to exact revenge for her 2016 loss to VanZant in UFC. VanZant won the fight via a second-round TKO with a stunning switch kick.

The loss to VanZant started the fall of Rawlings in the UFC. She never recovered as she also lost her next three fights and was subsequently released.

Rawlings revamped her career with BKFC.

Crossover Star

But unlike Rawlings, VanZant left UFC on her terms. While she lost her last UFC fight against Amanda Ribas, VanZant left the MMA octagon with a solid 8-5 record. She successfully became a crossover star and one of the most recognizable MMA fighters after reaching the finals of the Dancing With Stars in 2016.

While VanZant maintained her focus is on BKFC for now, she’s keeping her options open. She revealed that her BKFC contract has a clause that will allow her to fight in the octagon again.

“The fortunate thing about Bare Knuckle, I could take an MMA fight, boxing fight during my contract with them. I definitely haven’t closed the door on MMA at all or straight boxing. I think I’m just excited about this opportunity. I think it opens up the doors for me to continue to compete and be a more well-rounded martial artist,” VanZant said.

But first things first, the 26-year old VanZant needs to take care of business tonight against Hart.

She’s confident that she’ll shock the world after her six-month training with American Top Team.

How to watch VanZant-Hart fight:

The VanZant-Hart fight will be available Live on Pay-Per-View including DISH, DIRECTV, IN DEMAND, ROGERS, SASKTEL, SHAW, and VUBIQUITY, and via the digital app FITE, as well as the BKFC website www.bareknuckle.tv/orderppv.

KnuckleMania starts on PPV at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PM and will be distributed by Multi Vision Media.

Two Free Preliminary Fights will be broadcast on the BKFC YouTube Channel and Facebook pages starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

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