Meet Spencer Ruggeri
This 28-year-old athlete from Los Angeles, California is one of the hottest young prospects in the sport of bare knuckle fighting…. and yet, he hasn’t even stepped inside the squared-circle yet.
“The reality is, you have to be marketable,” Ruggeri said ahead of his upcoming BKFC 16 bout against David Diaz on March 19.
“This is a business first and foremost,” Ruggeri continued. “There’s a lot of money to be made. This upcoming event (BKFC 16), I’ll give Bare Knuckle FC what they deserve, which is something tangible. We can talk business from there but the truth is, they all see the talent in me, and there’s a lot of f**king money to be made. The sport is blowing up. There’s opportunity all over the place. There are business decisions we need to make. I’ll give them something tangible and they will see what it is that I am providing, and reality will very much set in for David (Feldman – BKFC President) and Nate (Shook – BKFC matchmaker) and all the heads and investors in BKFC.”
Ruggeri is already receiving high praise from the likes of both Feldman and Shook.
“Spencer Ruggeri may be a future contender,” Shook recently said. “He has a good fighting look.”
When asked what his thoughts are on the compliments he is receiving from BKFC executives, Ruggeri wasn’t surprised.
“It’s a feeling,” Ruggeri said. “He knows what he is talking about. These are guys that do this for a f**king living. Nate literally sniffs out talent for a living. It is what he does. It’s what David does too. There’s a reason that they are so interested. It’s because I am going to do what I say I’m going to do and I am who I say I am.”
While Ruggeri's comments could come off as cocky or over-confident, the aspiring star doesn’t see it that way. In a world where fighters such as Chael Sonnen and Conor McGregor have used their voice to propel their professional careers, Ruggeri is no different.
“The sport is so raw that guys don’t even know where they are coming from in the first place,” he said.
“You have guys with boxing backgrounds, guys with MMA backgrounds. Everybody is all shook and all confused. They don’t know how they want to do things. They don’t know what they are going to do. It’s a blank canvas. There’s a lot of room for creative talent in the sport right now. Empty thrones is what I see when I look at the talent in BKFC, in bare knuckle as a whole. David is doing a f**king hell of a job building BKFC, but he needs a face. You need a level of talent, a marketable person. There’s a reason why Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) is saying the things he is saying, why he is securing an investment. But, there’s a lot of f**king things they need to happen. The entire sports needs to be amped up and professionalized because there are a lot of guys that they can fight but they don’t have ‘it.’ They don’t have that f**king thing. It’s what David sees, it’s what Nate sees. It’s what I am saying. It’s that overall energy that is just a reality. People can like it or people don’t have to like it. People can want to join in or they won’t. But it’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen. For me, it is just time for my life to turn on it’s f**cking belly. I’ve been in the dark kind of hunting for years now. I’ve been waiting for it to expose itself and when it does, I am ready. I’m not worried about the bout. I’m not worried about my performance. I’m not worried about my physically. It’s literally just putting A and B together.”
When asked about his training for the upcoming fight, Ruggeri says that he has a private trainer, but the name of that individual has not yet been revealed, adding even more allure to the persona that this California native has portrayed.
“The reality is I found one person who has an eye for weird movement. That’s the creative side that bare knuckle allows for. These fights are capitalized on by one strike. You hit somebody on top of the eyebrow and they start bleeding and it is done. The reality is there is a lot of creative ability thrown in from a karate point stance, from different martial arts aspect. My coach has an eye for my own movement. It’s just us, and it will always be just us, and we will build from there.”
Whether Ruggeri is successful in his professional bare knuckle fighting debut on March remains to be seen, but that isn’t stopping this young man from chasing his dream.
“I would like to put my dad into retirement,” Ruggeri said. “I’m here in BKFC to take everything. I’m here to vandalize the organization. It’s not up for discussion. I don’t give a f**k who they put in front of me. I would love to fight this ‘Kid Gatti’ guy (BKFC fighter Jarod Grant). I’ll take his head.”
For a man who is entering his first professional fight, Ruggeri doesn’t appear too concerned with his opponent, or what he brings to the table.
“I don’t watch film on fighters,” Ruggeri said. “I don’t rely on that. It’s too free of a sport right now. You don’t get to rely on wrestling. You don’t get to drag people into later rounds. There’s no such thing as a sweet science of boxing. With this sport it goes out the f**king window. You can come from 22 plus years of boxing. It’s an incredible talent but at the same time, this is not boxing. You can split someone’s forehead with a backhand. It doesn’t hit the same. You are seeing boxing guys get handled and mangled by amateur MMA fighters. Every set of swinging nuts is a wild card. It doesn’t matter how many lights you’ve been under. We will see when we step into the arena how it goes and who you are.”
Headlining BKFC-16 is a lightweight grudge match between Leonard ‘Bad Boy’ Garcia, (18-13-1), fighting out of Lubbock, TX and Joe ‘The Hitman’ Elmore, (13-12), of Atlanta, GA.
Co-featured and making his BKFC debut, Former Boxing World Champion DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley of Washington, D.C. clashes with BKFC veteran Reggie ‘Eaz-E’ Barnett Jr. of Virginia Beach, VA in a bantamweight bout.
Tickets for BKFC-16 are Now On-Sale starting at $55 and may be purchased through the BKFC website, www.bkfc.com. The Biloxi Civic Center is located at 578 Howard Street, Biloxi, MS 39530. Doors will open on the night of the event at 6PMCT with the first bell at 7PMCT.