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Florida commission denies Melvin Guillard BKFC booking, ABC urges promotion to reevaluate roster

Melvin Guillard will fight in the Bellator 171 main event Friday night. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Melvin Guillard will not be competing at BKFC’s Knucklemania 2 after all.

Despite suffering losses in 13 of his previous 14 combat sports bouts, Guillard was slated to face Uly Diaz, a recent title challenger, at the promotion’s Feb. 19 event in Hollywood, Fla. On Thursday, it was revealed in a news release by The Association of Boxing Commissions that the Florida State Athletic Commission, under the jurisdiction of executive director Patrick Cunningham, has denied the booking due to “a serious concern” for Guillard’s health.

“In checking the certified ABC record sources, BoxRec and the MMA database, it was determined Guillard is suspended and requires a neurological exam,” the release states. “But even if he cleared that, Guillard has lost the past four BKB bouts and lost nine mixed martial arts 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 suffering three straight losses to Justin Gaethje, Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz between November 2014 and February 2016, Guillard picked up a knockout win over David Rickels at Bellator 159 in July 2016. However, Guillard tested positive for a non-performance enhancing drug and was subsequently suspended for one year, while his win was overturned to a no-contest.

Guillard suffered losses in his next 10 fights between MMA and bare-knuckle competition — eight via stoppage — including knockout losses to Israel Adesanya and Takanori Gomi. In his previous appearance, he was badly knocked out by fellow former UFC fighter Joe Riggs at BKFC Fight Night Montana in October and suffered five orbital fractures.

Diaz will now need a new opponent for his chance to get back in the win column after suffering a doctor’s stoppage TKO loss in a wild title fight against Thiago Alves at BKFC 18 in June. Diaz also holds a three-second KO win over Donelei Benedetto at BKFC 14 in Novmeber 2020.

The ABC stated they are “not opposed” to bare-knuckle boxing. But the commission, which serves to set regulatory standards for the sport but does not have authority over individual commissions, does have concerns, most notably with fighters over the age of 35 competing who have a long list of bouts on their resumes.

“Many of these fighters have not competed for an extended period of time,” the statement reads. “Therefore, the Association of Boxing Commissions Medical Committee is especially concerned that athletes competing ‘recycling’ may be at higher risks for acute and chronic injuries.”

ABC president Mike Mazzulli commended the Florida Athletic Commission for their due diligence and hopes BKFC will take a close look at their fighter roster.

“We can only hope and pray BKFC will reevaluate their rosters and make a very entertaining sport safer for all combatants,” Mazzulli said. “If not, the ABC and the member commissions will be ready to hold their feet to the fire.”