Conor McGregor’s skills as a pitch man were at full force at BKFC 41.
Following the main event of BKFC 41 in Broomfield, Colo., this past Saturday, McGregor emerged from the audience and stepped into the ring after being called out by winner Mike Perry. The two met in an animated but respectful faceoff, which had fans buzzing over the weekend and McGregor himself still marinating on the moment come Monday morning.
BKFC President David Feldman appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday to explain how it came to be that “The Notorious” was seated in the crowd.
“We were actually going to use his security before for a few things, and we were just going back and forth with them and he said, ‘I think Conor wants to come to that event,’” Feldman said. “My guy Dave Cranston hit me up and he said Conor McGregor wants to come and I said, ‘Great, let’s get it.’ [Cranston] said, ‘I’m not 100 percent sure yet,’ and we really didn’t know until right before the event started that he was definitely coming, and then he flew out from L.A. and flew into Broomfield. We picked him up and he made an epic appearance.
“Forget that he came — that’s awesome. He got into our ring and accepted a challenge that’s probably never going to happen, let’s be honest. He’s under contract with the UFC, but you never know what happens. To accept a challenge to Mike Perry and say how much he loves this sport and, ‘It’s a great sport,’ and, ‘I have to try this,’ and, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,’ and put on one of our BKFC belts was unbelievable. It’s something that people would pay millions of dollars for that kind of notoriety, and it happened for free for us.”
McGregor not only went face-to-face with Perry, he did so with a BKFC championship belt slung over one shoulder. Apparently, the title was borrowed from two-division champion Lorenzo Hunt.
Pictures and video of McGregor in the ring adorned with BKFC gold quickly went viral, much to Feldman’s delight.
“He got in the ring and one of his statements, he said, ‘I didn’t even fight for this promotion yet and I already have their belt,’ so that was pretty cool too,” Feldman said. “It was awesome. We worked so hard. Nothing was gifted to us. We climbed every bit of the way that we got here, and I’m not saying that we’re at the top yet, we’re far from the top, but everybody — and I mean everybody — in combat sports was talking about us this week.”
According to Feldman, he was aware that Perry had a callout in mind should he win Saturday’s headliner, which he did with a second-round stoppage of former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold; however, Feldman says Perry told him the plan was to call out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who was also in attendance. Cerrone defeated Perry via submission when the two fought in the UFC octagon back in November 2018.
Once Perry turned his attention to McGregor though, he had to call his shot, and it couldn’t have gone better for Feldman and the BKFC, even if that matchup never materializes.
“I had no idea and I didn’t think even if he did [call McGregor out], I didn’t think that Conor would jump in the ring,” Feldman said. “That was an amazing moment for us and obviously we’ll never interfere with what he’s doing with the UFC.
“A couple of guys on my team hung with him afterwards and he just said, ‘This is what fighting is supposed to be. This is the best thing I’ve ever seen in fighting.’”
If the UFC was upset with McGregor’s comments or the fact that he even showed up at the event, Feldman hasn’t heard from the promotion. He wants to make it clear that while his team was happy to accommodate McGregor’s arrival in Colorado and his transportation to the show, there was no financial incentive for McGregor to attend BKFC 41 .
The result was the happiest of accidents, one that may have boosted the BKFC to new heights.
“We don’t pay for anyone to be there,” Feldman said. “We will never do that, that’s not our thing. … We’ll never, ever, ever do that, that’s not what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to grow this thing organically and we’re in a whole different place now. As we’re doing this growth, I always say this event could turn the corner or that’s a turning point for us. It certainly turned for us.
“We bet everything on this event, we went big. Sometimes they say go big or go home, and luckily we didn’t have to go home. We went big and it moved us up a couple of notches, I believe. I’m never arrogant, not at all, but I think that we really parked into the No. 2 spot in combat sports right now.”