Din Thomas criticizes bare-knuckle fighting as a ‘graveyard for MMA fighters’ in UFC 264 pre-fight interview.
Safe to say that UFC analyst Din Thomas isn’t a big fan of bare-knuckle fighting and recommends that legends of the game shouldn’t enter the world of bare-knuckle if they want to unretire and keep competing.
This comes after former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans said he would like to come out of retirement to fight Logan Paul in a boxing match. Evans has worked with UFC heavyweight Greg Hardy ahead of his matchup with Tai Tuivasa at UFC 264.
When asked whether or not he thinks Evans should take the dive into boxing, Thomas was supportive of him but warned him not to get involved in bare-knuckle.
“As long as these guys come out of retirement and do these crazy boxing matches, that’s fine,” Thomas said. “But when they come out of retirement and do bare-knuckle; to me, bare-knuckle is the graveyard for MMA fighters. Just don’t come out and do that.”
Professional bare-knuckle boxing wasn’t legal in any U.S. state until Wyoming became the first to legalize it in March 2018. Shortly afterwards, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship was founded by former boxer David Feldman and has held a series of pay-per-view events ever since.
The rise of bare-knuckle boxing isn’t without controversy though. The sport has been widely criticized for its graphic nature and high frequency of serious injuries in the cage.
Despite Din Thomas’ criticism, several former UFC veterans have made the move from MMA to bare-knuckle fighting
Former UFC standouts Paige Van Zant, Artem Lobov and Rachel Ostovich are just a few of the names who have opted to make the transition to bare-knuckle late in their careers. Van Zant and Ostovich are slated to fight in a BKFC event next month.
World boxing champion Tyson Fury has recently called out UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou for a bare-knuckle fight, but negotiations for a potential bout have never materialized.
As for Thomas, he’ll once again serve as a broadcast analyst on ESPN’s UFC coverage of UFC 264: Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor 3.
UFC 264 takes place on July 10, 2021, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided who is cageside for all your live news and highlights.