It wasn't that long ago when the concept of women competing in UFC seemed like an archaic concept until the rise of stars such as Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg made what was once considered a novelty into a regular part of MMA.
With the return of bare knuckle fighting, a sport that has not been legal, regulated and sanctioned in the United States since the end of the 19th century, David Feldman's Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will feature a women's fight on their "BKFC: The Beginning" event on June 2 in Wyoming. Bec Rawlings, who most recently fought on UFC 223 this past April, will fight pro boxer Alma Garcia at the event.
The idea of a sanctioned bare knuckle fighting event in 2018 seems bizarre to some people, but a women's bare knuckle fight could feel like something out of this world. Rawlings spoke with Fightful about her unique opportunity and the hope the event will shatter any pre-conceived notions about women's bare knuckle fight.
“It really annoys me how some people look at they see female fighters differently from the male fighters where they say it’s little girls that don’t know how to defend themselves. We’re all adults, we’ve all signed up for this. I think we’ve gone out there, especially in the UFC and proved that we have skills, we are exciting and that we are tough. I definitely feel like I can bring that over to BKFC and have women be taken seriously as well. People are always going to view combat sports as barbaric. When you bring in the bare knuckle, obviously when you bring the women, people are going to frown even more against that. It’s just really bad, but I think this show is going to do us justice," Rawlings said.
Rawlings digressed, as the former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter knows that women competing in combat sports are legitimate athletes and feels like she will have a big chance to showcase her skills and give spectators an exciting night.
"We’re all professional fighters, we all have our background in boxing or in MMA. It’s not like we’re being pulled off from the streets and being put into a ring. We’re all professional fighters and we’re all going to go out there and put on a really good fight. I definitely feel like it’s going to be exciting and people are actually going to enjoy it,” Rawlings said.
Focusing on her fight against Garcia, Rawlings said she has enjoyed her training camp and had a great team helping her make the transition from mixed martial artist to bare knuckle boxer. Since the sport of bare knuckle fighting employs no grappling, kicks and elbow and knee strikes, Rawlings has been focusing on her boxing and said her upcoming fight on June 2 will be the first time people will get to see her full skillset as a boxer.
“I feel like nobody has ever really seen me able to just actually box. Striking is different in MMA because there’s different weapons being thrown at you. I’m confident that I can play the boxing game [against her]," Rawlings said.
A pro MMA fighter since 2011, Rawlings, who has a 7-8 career record in MMA, has fought in the UFC since the The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale event. Rawlings has fought the likes of Jessica-Rose Clark, Tecia Torres and Paige VanZant.