Earlier this week, it was announced by Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships that Melvin Guillard had been booked to compete at the upcoming Knucklemania 2 event in Florida. However, in a press release sent out by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports, the fight request has been denied by Florida Athletic Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham.
In the press release sent to The MMA Report on Thursday morning, it noted that “Cunningham found a serious concern with the health of Melvin Guillard. In checking the certified ABC record sources, BoxRec, and the MMA Database, it was determined Guillard is suspended and requires a Neurological Exam, but even if he cleared that Guillard had lost the past 4 BKB bouts and had lost 9 mixed martial art events in a row. His last fight was at an unsanctioned event in the State of Montana which does not have an operating Commission.”
The complete press release from the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports is below.
FLORIDA STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION TAKES STRONG STAND FOR FIGHTER SAFETY
The Association of Boxing Commissions is comprised of regulatory agencies from around the country – agencies that must balance the promotion of the combative arts with safety and that requires making many tough decisions. This week, the Florida Commission should be recognized for making one of those hard decisions: denying a fight that was proposed by Bare Knuckle Fight Championship (BKFC). The promotion requested that the Florida Athletic Commission allow Melvin Guillard (2-6) BKFC, vs Ulysses Diaz (2-1 BKFC) to fight on 2-19-22 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. On the surface, the fight might look competitive, but after doing due diligence, the Executive Director Patrick Cunningham found a serious concern with the health of Melvin Guillard. In checking the certified ABC record sources, BoxRec and the MMA Database, it was determined Guillard is suspended and requires a Neurological Exam, but even if he cleared that Guillard had lost the past 4 BKB bouts and had a lost 9 mixed martial art events in a row. His last fight was at an unsanctioned event in the State of Montana which does not have an operating Commission. After evaluating all this information Executive Director Patrick Cunningham denied the fight.
The ABC commends the Florida Athletic Commission with a job well done. The ABC is not opposed to the sport of bare knuckle boxing as a form of competition, but would reject any combat sport that continues the recycling of boxing or mixed martial artists. Since 2018, early injury studies in bare knuckled boxing have suggested a higher rate of minor hand fractures and lacerations, but less severe concussions. Nevertheless, athletes who compete in this sport are generally older (over 35 years old), have already fought in various other disciplines and tend to be at the tail end of their careers. Many of these competitors have been affiliated with other MMA organizations and have been subsequently released by these promotional companies due to many factors including (but not limited to) loss of skills, consecutive losses, or injuries. Lastly, many of these fighters have not fought for extended periods of time. Therefore, the Association of Boxing Commission’s Medical Committee is especially concerned that athletes competing “recycling” may be at higher risks for acute and chronic injuries.
ABC President, Michael Mazzulli, stated, “Again, great job Florida, looking out for fighter safety! We can only hope and pray BKFC will reevaluate their rosters and make a very entertaining sport safer for all combatants. If not, the ABC and the member Commissions will be ready to hold their feet to the fire.”
Check out the new episode of The MMA Report Podcast, which includes interviews with Matt Frevola, Sullivan Cauley, Jay Perrin, and Zak Ottow.