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Charisa Sigala talks life changing bare knuckle fight, and welcoming Pearl Gonzalez at BKFC 18

Taylor Starling (left) vs. Charisa Sigala (right) at BKFC KnuckleMania - Photo by Phil Lambert for BKFC
Taylor Starling (left) vs. Charisa Sigala (right) at BKFC KnuckleMania - Photo by Phil Lambert for BKFC

Bare Knuckle fighting fans are still talking about what was arguably the best women's bare knuckle fight of all time. Earlier this year, two relatively unknown competitors made waves as they entered the squared circle for the first time at BKFC's "KnuckleMania."

Charisa Sigala and Taylor Starling toed-the-line and threw down in an all out 10-minute slugfest that shocked fans in attendance and the millions who would watch at home and eventually later on YouTube. The two mothers put on an extremely memorable performance for the ages, proving that you don't need to be a larger than life character to put on an entertaining fight.


"It's amazing how many people know who I am now," Sigala said as she reflected back on the experience. "Even when people come into the gym, they are like, 'oh, that's her?' It's pretty cool," she continued.

The new found fame and notoriety lined Sigala up with sports management company, SuckerPunch Entertainment, which would in turn help further the 37-year-old fighter's development.

"SuckerPunch is somewhat new to bare knuckle, but they manage so many MMA fighters, that I knew they knew what they were doing," Sigala said of the pairing.

"I've heard nothing but good things about them, and I did my own research. I had always just managed myself but after I saw that I was getting a following, and I didn't have a follow-on contract with BKFC after KnuckleMania, I knew I needed to do things right and that is when I signed on with SuckerPunch."

Charisa Sigala getting wrapped for "KnuckleMania" - Photo by Ryan Loco for Bare Knuckle FC

Since signing with the management company, Sigala has signed on to a follow-on deal with BKFC and will now face bare knuckle fighting newcomer, Pearl Gonzalez at BKFC on June 26.

"The whole thing came together because my agent, Chad, at SuckerPunch, was reaching out to the promotion," Sigala said of the pending Gonzalez fight.

"When David Feldman (BKFC President) told Chad that my next opponent was going to be whoever the promotion signed next, I was ecstatic to see that it was Pearl. I'm not one to say, 'No, I'm not going to fight this person. I'll fight whoever they want me to fight. That's how I always understood that it should be. I'm excited."

Gonzalez, a former UFC and Invicta FC competitor, will be making her professional bare knuckle debut when the bell rings on June 26.

"Only time will tell if she can do bare knuckle or not," Sigala said while speaking about her upcoming opponent in Hollywood, Florida.

"It happened to me as well. Some people think they are ready until they get in there. I went through a little bit of that but now that I've done it, I truly don't think it is as bad as MMA. I think elbows and knees are way worse than getting punched with a fist. Maybe I was so focused on what I was doing, but I didn't feel it. If she can go in there with that mentality then yeah, I see her being a good fight."

Charisa Sigala about to throw down at "KnuckleMania" - Photo by Phil Lambert for Bare Knuckle FC
Charisa Sigala about to throw down at "KnuckleMania" - Photo by Phil Lambert for Bare Knuckle FC

While Sigala believes Gonzalez is extremely capable of being a successful competitor with BKFC, she is convinced that the experience she gained in the battle against Starling will carry her through to victory in Florida.

"I analyze everything I do," Sigala said. "For me, a big take away was learning how the experience truly was. You can train MMA and spar but with bare knuckle you can't just take off your gloves to train and tell your partner to go throw down. Actually doing it in competition is a huge, huge added bonus for this next fight because I've actually been there and done that. I'm prepared. You can say what you want but you are still punching with little gloves or with boxing gloves until you actually have a bare knuckle fight. The fact that I was fighting in the pocket, a 10-minute, all-out war, just gives me that much more of an advantage. I have that experience. There aren't many females that have that under their belt in this sport.

Sigala and Gonzalez are just two of a handful of women that Bare Knuckle FC recently offered contracts to. Former UFC starts, Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich, ecently joined a roster that already was home to names like Jenny Savage, Britain Hart, and more.

"I think some women will look at bare knuckle and say, 'That looks crazy. Why would I want to go in there and get beat up and mess up my face?' But when more and more women see other women doing it, you'll see more and more come over to bare knuckle," Sigala said.

"Even for me, when I'm in the gym and people see me and know that I do bare knuckle, they start asking me questions and say, 'I would do that.' It looks crazy, but it's not that bad. More and more women are going to sign to fight bare knuckle. I think the sport is going to grow super fast for a lot of different reasons. I think David Feldman is awesome with marketing for one. It's one thing I love about the company. They promote you and you can see that David genuinely cares. He lets some fighters compete outside the organization. You just see it. I think he genuinely cares about his fighters."

Charisa Sigala prepares to enter the ring at "KnuckleMania" - Photo by Ryan Loco for Bare Knuckle FC
Charisa Sigala prepares to enter the ring at "KnuckleMania" - Photo by Ryan Loco for Bare Knuckle FC

BKFC 18 takes place Saturday, June 26 at the Hardrock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Download the BKTV App here to watch the BKFC 18 event


More on BKFC 18

In the heavyweight division, BKFC World Champion ‘The Mexicutioner’ Joey Beltran, (4-1-1, 2 KOs), fighting out of Carlsbad, CA will make the second defense of his title against Sam ‘The Hillbilly Hammer’ Shewmaker, (4-1-1, 3 KOs), of Gravois Mills, MO. Beltran returns to action in the squared circle following a fourth round knockout of Marcel Stamps at BKFC-13 in Salina, KS while Shewmaker made a lasting impression with the BKFC faithful stopping veteran Bobo O’Bannon in the first round on December 11, 2020 at BKFC-15 in Biloxi, MS.

Competing for the vacant BKFC Cruiserweight World Title, South Florida fan favorite, Hector ‘Showeather’ Lombard, (2-0, 1 KO), of Miami, FL clashes with ‘Diesel’ Joe Riggs, (3-0-1), fighting out of Phoenix, AZ. Lombard earned his entry into the world title fight with a first-round stoppage of Kendall Grove on September 11, 2020 in Daytona Beach, FL. Riggs seeks worldwide glory against Lombard and looks to stay undefeated following a hotly contested draw at BKFC-6 against Walber Barros.

In the featherweight division, Miami warrior Luis ‘Baboon’ Palomino, (3-0, 2 KOs), faces Great Britain villain and the country’s bare-knuckle champion, Tyler ‘The Tornado’ Goodjohn, (1-0) for the BKFC World Title. With bad blood stemming from an in-ring altercation between the two after Palomino stopped Jim Alers at BKFC-14 in Miami, BKFC fans have anticipated this confrontation for the last eight months. In an outstanding all-action battle, Goodjohn made his triumphant US debut with a unanimous decision over Charles Bennett on December 11, 2020 at BKFC-15 in Biloxi, MS.

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