David Feldman and his team had a hit with BKFC 41, and he only sees bigger things on the horizon.
This past Saturday, Feldman’s bare-knuckle boxing promotion had the combat sports world buzzing with a star-studded event headlined by a quartet of former UFC stars. Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez won a slugfest with Chad Mendes in the co-main event, then Mike Perry closed the show with a win over Luke Rockhold and somehow ended up in a surreal faceoff with Conor McGregor. It was a night to remember, to say the least.
Feldman is now looking to move on from pay-per-view and secure a linear television deal, he revealed on The MMA Hour.
“I’ve got two on the table right now that we’re going down the road on these,” Feldman said. “I can’t mention who they are just because we’re negotiating, but I think we’re going to get a mainstream TV deal here in the next two months.”
A TV deal would be a huge next step for the BKFC, which only began running shows in 2018. At the time, the legality of the venture was in question and Feldman’s options were limited as far as where he would be permitted to run bare-knuckle boxing events. Five of the promotion’s first 10 events took place in Biloxi, Miss.
For Feldman, pay-per-view was a necessity and the goal has always been to secure a spot on TV.
“I don’t want to do pay-per-view,” Feldman said. “We have no other option right now. I don’t want to charge people for this. We have no other option. We have to fund the company and we can only fund the company by charging, because we’re not getting a rights fee. Now do a TV deal and get a rights fee or do a TV deal and don’t get a real big rights fee, but be able to get big time sponsors on board, it changes the whole entire trajectory of this whole thing.
“Really, that’s the goal for us and it’s going to happen. It’s 100 percent going to happen. Before, two years ago, it was a dream, and it’s really going to happen. I literally watched my dream of BKFC unfold in front of the whole entire world on Saturday night. It was the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
A financial windfall is a longtime coming for Feldman, who has run the BKFC at no small expense to himself. Asked if it was true that he had to refinance his house prior to BKFC 41 to make the landmark event happen, Feldman admitted that there was a lot of risk and a lot of pressure to make the show a success.
“Leading up to it, I did some things that I had to do to get the funds to be able to do what I needed to do for this event,” Feldman said. “I had a fighter meeting, it was the most real, emotional fighter meeting I’ve ever had and it’s so funny, every single fighter came up to me, every single one, and they were like, ‘Man, you’re the guy I want to fight for.’ From the top to the bottom, every single one of them. They said, ‘You’re the kind of guy I want to fight for. You’re real. If you’re going to bet your house on this and your life on this, I’m betting with you.’
“We don’t have crazy, crazy money. We’re going to. We’re going to get this funding thing situated. Triller’s about to go public and we’re going to have a lot of money to blow this thing up with them, they’ve been a great partner so far, but we also had to do some things on our own. It’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal feeling to be able to put everything in your life into this, the biggest moment of your life and you want it to shine. And it shined.”
Though it depends on the promotion continuing to bring in notable names from the combat sports world, Feldman would like to run four tentpole events a year. He is currently targeting Aug. 11 for the next BKFC event, with competitors for that card still to be determined.
One name that Feldman knows he has to keep in the fold is Perry. The former UFC welterweight has emerged as the face of the BKFC and said after his win on Saturday that the bout was the last of his current contract. He is 3-0 in the BKFC so far, including wins over Rockhold and Bellator star Michael “Venom” Page.
So will the “Platinum” era continue inside Feldman’s ring?
“A 100 percent,” Feldman said. “We know what he’s worth, we know his value, we’re working on other projects together. Look, we paid him 60 percent more than his contract so far, so we’ve already outpaid him what we were supposed to pay him and he’s [overdelivered] for us too so it’s a great partnership. When both people are doing more than they’re supposed to do, it’s a great, great partnership.
“A lot of people don’t know Mike Perry. They see him, sometimes he talks a little slow. He’s a smart, intelligent dude. He gets it, he’s a family guy. He looked sensational. He was just ripping shots. He took a big shot by Luke Rockhold, got rocked, came right back like it didn’t even affect him. Just an unbelievable guy. We will get that deal done.”