Michael “Venom” Page does not regret his brief stint in BKFC. In fact, he may give it another go in the future.
This past August, Page faced Mike Perry in a one-off fight at BKFC 27. Though Page broke Perry’s jaw, he still fell short, losing a majority decision in sudden death overtime. Page himself was battered and bruised in the fight, getting dropped in the first round and fading as the bout went into the overtime period. But despite the loss and the damage he sustained, he actually quite enjoyed his experience in the ring.
“I did enjoy it, weirdly enough,” Page told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It was very different, but I just love the new challenges when it comes to combat, full stop. This one was a completely new challenge. The training I had to slightly alter, and where I actually slipped up was, my coach told me the day before, ‘Go and check the canvas. Go and step into the ring and feel the space that you’re going to be in.’ And I was like, that’s going to be like anything else. But it does differ, because the size of the ring, in general, is not the size you actually fight in, because the ropes start so much further in. So it’s actually very tight when you actually get in there. It slipped my mind, I completely forgot to do it, and when I was in there I was like, ‘S***, this is hella tight.’
“So that was a new experience. The intensity of it as well, because they’re two-minute rounds. But I did enjoy it, and I may touch back again. A lot of people don’t want me to, but I may try again. ... Friends and family, they hated seeing me in there because of the type of sport it was. They hated seeing how swollen I was afterward. They’re the ones pushing for me not to do it again, but I don’t like to go out on a loss, so I want to potentially change that.”
Aside from the differences in the fighting area, Page also acknowledged that the sport itself feels very different from MMA or boxing, because of the damage that is inflicted. While studies have shown that bare-knuckle combat has a lower concussion rate than glove fighting – and as a result is in some ways safer than either MMA or boxing – Page said the superficial damage was substantially worse than in either sport.
“Definitely different, and even down to — we have small gloves, but when you get hit, the damage effect is not the same,” Page said. “You get hit with bare knuckle, and you’re swollen immediately, you’re cut immediately. It changes. You feel every shot, whereas you can kind of ride shots a little bit, especially punches, in MMA.”
That’s an important insight for another MMA fighter soon to make the jump over to BKFC: former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Earlier this year, the promotion announcedt Rockhold will get a chance to try bare-knuckle when he takes on “Platinum” Perry at the upcoming BKFC 41 card.
As a man who himself underestimated Perry to his detriment, Page believes Rockhold could be in for a harsh lesson.
“I was kind of surprised at Perry [vs. Rockhold].” Page said. “Not surprised, because I know he’s game for any kind of fight, but Luke Rockhold is a lot bigger, so it’s going to be difficult. But Perry comes to fight, it doesn’t matter who is in front of him. He’s comfortable in that arena, he’s used to it. It might be a shock for Luke Rockhold.”
Before Page can return to try his hand at BKFC again, though, first he has his return to MMA to worry about. Page is set to face Goiti Yamauchi at Bellator 292 on Saturday in San Jose, Calif.