Mike Richman: "I like fighting, I like punching. We're going to get into a fist fight" at BKFC 17
"The Marine" is coming to BKFC
With several fights for other bare knuckle promotions under his belt, the 35-year-old, long-time mixed martial arts veteran, Mike "The Marine" Richman has finally inked a deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).
Richman, a pro in MMA since 2008, will make his Bare Knuckle FC debut at BKFC 17 on Friday, April 30 at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL.
Fighting successfully in numerous, high level MMA organizations and sporting a 2-0 record as a professional boxer, Richman hits the squared circle against hometown favorite Stamps in the first round of the 175lb. Division Quarter-Final Tournament.
A win over Stamps puts Richman on the trajectory of a title shot in his next 1-2 fights according to BKFC executives.
While some of the rules vary between bare knuckle promotions, Richman is grateful for the knowledge and experience he gained prior to signing with BKFC.
"It gave me a little more experience in the bare knuckle game," Richman said. "Punching bare knuckle, taking shots bare knuckle. I learned the bare knuckle style. Although they were different formats and different rules, it was still different than MMA. It brought a different energy."
While Richman is a military veteran with three combat tours under his belt, his love for combat sports came prior to the Marine Corps' implementation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program in 2001.
"I did enjoy doing MCMAP, but it was still in its very beginning stages," Richman said of the program's start during his enlistment. "They were just beginning to implement it, but I was always a huge fan of combat sports. I first was a boxing fan over MMA. I grew up watching and ordering boxing pay-per-views. I also grew up competing in wrestling. I always had the desire to fight.
"Once I really saw MMA start to blow up, even before the days of Dana White, I really wanted to do it. It was kind of in my nature. I think I was born with the competitive nature to kind of want to fight. I think being in the Marine Corps, in the infantry, kind of added to that 'fight mentality.' It was something I wanted to pursue. I was moving up fast in the Marine Corps as they say. I was promoted meritoriously to Corporal, then meritoriously promoted in combat to Sergeant during my second deployment to Iraq. I did three tours to Iraq and I was going to be a 'lifer,' as they say but I had this underlying desire to get out and pursue mixed martial arts. I didn't want to be 10 or 20 years down the road and saying, 'I could have done that.' I canceled my reenlistment package with the intent of, 'if I fail at fighting, I can always go back into the Corps in a year or two.' So, I got out and things worked out."
With more than 30 pro fights under his belt, Richman is widely considered a true combat sports veteran. Even with all the experience, fighting isn't everything for Richman.
He is a family man, but also spends most of his nights working as the general manager of a gentlemen's club.
"It's difficult," Richman said of balancing fighting, work, and family. "Bare knuckle gives me just enough time to get in there and train. It would be really, really difficult to be a general manager and still compete at MMA at a high level because of all the various disciplines. With bare knuckle, I only need to focus on one discipline and I can zone in and focus on that discipline."
Stamps, the man standing opposite Richman on April 30, may have the size advantage when the two competitors toe the line in Birmingham.
"I know that he is an uber athlete," Richman said of Stamps. "He is an athlete who got into mixed martial arts. I understand he is a former Crimson Tide linebacker. He got into MMA and then bare knuckle. He's a bigger guy who has always fought bigger. I've fought as low as 135-pounds. I'm bigger and heavier now but he's a much taller fighter coming down in weight and we are going to try to meet in the middle. We are doing a catchweight at 180, but he's supposed to make his way down to 175. I don't know if he can do that. At the end of the day it is two grown men fist fighting. Yes, there is clinching but it's not like we are going to be going for double leg takedowns or any of that. There will be clinching in there. And I like fighting, I like punching. We're going to get into a fist fight. He's a strong, explosive athlete with reach. I've got to get inside and get nasty."
Headlining BKFC-17 is a tremendous heavyweight clash between Dillon ‘Bad Boy’ Cleckler, (2-0, 2 KO’s), of Pensacola, FL and Josh ‘The Hammer’ Burns, (1-0, 1 KO), of Dearborn, MI. Co-featured in the Quarter-Finals of the BKFC 175lb. Tournament, Birmingham fan favorite Marcel ‘Swift’ Stamps, (2-1), faces-off against Mike ‘The Marine’ Richman of Rosemount, MN.
Advance tickets for BKFC-17 priced from $40 to $150 are Now On-Sale at BKFC.com. The Boutwell Auditorium is located at 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203. Doors will open on the night of the event at 6:00 p.m. CT with the first bell at 7:00 p.m. CT.