BKFC is taking a novel – and some might say aggressive – approach to control the flow of information about its fights, threatening to take fighters’ pay for announcing them before they are official.
A clause in the bare-knuckle promotion’s standard contract, obtained by MMA Fighting, forbids a fighter from announcing “any details about his fight to include date, opponent and location,” until BKFC announces the information. Violators of the clause face a “financial penalty” of “10 percent of fighter’s pay and loss of any bonuses the fighter would have been eligible for.”
BKFC President David Feldman told MMA Fighting the clause has yet to be enforced and said it related more to the release of promotional materials such as fight posters and other company products than fight news that is a centerpiece of the combat sports news business and part of the day-to-day coverage of dozens of websites.
“We’re trying to crack down on people coming in over weight, we’re trying to crack down on people not turning medicals in, we’re trying to crack down on a lot of things that are making it hard for us to produce a quality event,” he said.
Feldman said the clause was implemented by BKFC’s legal and matchmaking team. He cited a recent instance where a premature announcement interfered with a booking, yet stressed the promotion wasn’t looking to penalize fighters specifically for leaking fights.
“I don’t want to take a dime from them, but I also want to make sure we get the impact on promoting that we’re supposed to get,” he said.
Asked about the clause, several veteran MMA promoters MMA Fighting spoke to were unfamiliar with any similar penalty for leaked information; the majority of stories about fight information that’s not announced by the promotion are revealed by sources who ask to remain anonymous.
MMA industry-leader UFC has presented a more indirect financial penalty for fighters and managers by threatening to cancel bookings in the event fights are announced via an unauthorized source. At a fighter’s summit for contractees, the promotion strongly advised fighters to only talk to preferred outlets when discussing fights or news.
A financial penalty has never explicitly been tied to leaks, though fines have been announced against fighters who violated the promotion’s policies. Nate Diaz, who on Saturday fights Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, was in 2016 fined for “knowingly” breaking the UFC Outfitting Policy with then-sponsor Reebok, and in 2013, the promotion announced a fine for his use of an anti-gay slur on social media.