Editor's Note: Within hours of interviewing Bobo O'Bannon, his wife was rushed to a nearby medical facility for emergency treatment. Please keep the O'Bannon's in your thoughts and prayers.
If you would, please briefly close your eyes and imagine what a bare knuckle fighter might look like. Try to picture in your head what someone who fights without gloves might sound like, what interests they may have, and what their purpose for fighting may be.
Now.... throw all that away.
Enter Bobo O'Bannon
The 36-year-old 'Bible Belt Brawler', is not your typical bare knuckle fighter, but one could say that about most every fighter on the promotion's roster. Every competitor is unique in their own way, but what sets O'Bannon apart from the lot is his purpose.
Not just his purpose for fighting, but O'Bannon's life purpose. It's just different.
How many fighters can say that they were terminated from their place of employment due to their affiliation and participation with the world of fighting and combat sports?
That is exactly what happened to Bobo O'Bannon. A veteran of of five bouts with Bare Knuckle FC, O'Bannon was released from his day-to-day way of earning a living, yet chose to continue his pursuit of chasing a championship in the sport of bare knuckle because God told him it is what he needed to do.
Now working long, tedious hours as a millwright, and serving as the main care provider for his wife who has serious health issues, O'Bannon has embraced the day-to-day challenges that life has thrown at him.
“Without a doubt, my wife is my biggest supporter," O'Bannon said. "Just being around her makes me want to be better in fighting, be better in life, a better Christian, a better follower of God. If people could see what she goes through day in and day out, you would see she does it with a smile on her face."
O'Bannon's venture into combat sports was almost cut short but then a higher power called the Alabama native back to competition, an experience that the 'Bible Belt Brawler' can only describe as "emotional."
When he first met his wife, O'Bannon made a promise to her that he would no longer compete in fighting. O'Bannon states that his wife had heard the typical stories of the life of a fighter and she did not want that for her family.
Then everything changed in an instant.
"We were in church one day, and I couldn't tell you what the preacher was preaching about, but it was weighing on my heart that I needed to be fighting. I said, 'Lord, I'm sorry. This woman sitting beside me, made me promise that I wouldn't fight again, so I can't do it.' Less than two minutes later, my wife nudged me and told me to lean down to her. She said, 'I don't know why but God is telling me right now that you need to be fighting again. I do not like it, but that is what he is telling me.' I started crying so hard and then we started talking about it and she said, 'it looks like you need to get your fat butt back into shape.'"