With almost 100 fights to his credit, 34-year old Robert "The Destroyer" Morrow believes his future endeavors in the sport of bare knuckle boxing will bring closure to a more than decade long journey in combat sports.
The Illinois native Morrow, will head to Tampa, Florida next week to see how he will measure up against Gustavo Trujillo at BKFC 8. Although this will be his first bare knuckle encounter, Morrow enters the squared circle with a wealth of experience. His professional mixed martial arts record currently stands at 30-25-1. Prior to turning pro, Morrow amassed an amateur record of 23-4. He also brings kickboxing experience to the table; 0-3 as a pro, and 7-1 as an amateur.
"I love to compete," Morrow said. "The competitive nature is still in me. There's been many years where I was like, 'this is my last fight.' But it just keeps progressing. In 2016 I had a herniated disc and I thought my career was over in the fight game, for any wrestling, MMA, and even my work. I'm a laborer. All I do is dig and carry heavy plywood. I went through a depression. The only thing that kept me going besides my family was the will to push forward, to bring out the actual fighter in me. I fought through the pain and went to Bellator in 2018 and then again this year. And now bare knuckle. If I gave up all those years ago, even before then when I had a losing streak, I wouldn't be where I am at now. I wouldn't have these opportunities. Perseverance.... that's the biggest thing."
"They (BKFC) got my interest once it was official, once bare knuckle was a legit official sport," Morrow said.
Morrow was slated to compete at BKFC 2 in August 2018, but despite weighing in, the fight did not take place.
"It caught my curiosity right away, " Morrow said. "Being that I am not a grappler in any means, I prefer the standup game. Yes, I am a mixed martial artist, but I like to showcase my skills on the feet. Bare knuckle, that's all you do, stand up and bang. Someone is going out."
With the change in sports, comes a change in how Morrow trains for a fight.
"My preparation has seen a drastic change," he said. "I've been in that tough grinder gym where we are grinding it out every day but now we are focusing on my technique. I am learning how to engage on the punching, more head movement. I'm used to the Dutch style of kickboxing, stalking, walking forward, just going at guys. Now we are working on more head movement. Because it is bare knuckle you don't want to get the damage. It is horrible to have a fight stopped for a cut when you could be winning. We are working on blocking, different angles, and how to pick your punches. You don't want to blast your punches and hit an elbow or a forearm, or break your hand on their head. We're looking how to pick the right punches and harden these knuckles too. I'm hitting the water bag, it has that flesh feel for hitting. Plus it stays a little more because the water pushes back at you. Just hardening the hands, pushup on the knuckles."
Morrow does not appear to have much information to go on when it comes to his opponent, but believes that he will be in for a fight.
"I know he is Cuban," he said. "One of my boxing coaches is on the Cuban team, an excellent boxer, so I know he is going to have sort of the same work ethic. I've made the mistake before of underestimating guys. That's not going to happen this time. I know he is going to put in the camp, wants to make a statement, trying to do the same thing as me. I haven't been doing this going on 16 years now for no reason. I'm in here to prove something. I hope this guy is not underestimating me. Come in and come into scrap."
With nearly 100 fights to his credit, Morrow realizes that his time left in the combat sports world is limited.
"I'd like to think that this is a permanent move for me," he said. "I'd like to call this (BKFC) my home before I call it quits. I want this to be a good final run, see where I'm at. Because of my record and the amount of fights, and the wear and tear on the body, the UFC is out of the question. Yes, I am 2-0 in Bellator now but the love for the MMA sport has kind of died over the years. From watching guys like Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Cro Cop, all these guys are out of the game. All my idols. I have nobody to watch. I don't even watch UFC anymore. I watch bare knuckle. I'm watching these guys. This is awesome. I want to make this my home and finish out my career with BKFC."
Bare Knuckle FC 8 takes place October 19 from the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. The event is headlined by former UFC fighters Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Gabriel Gonzaga.
BKFC 8 will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television distribution outlets for $29.99. It will also be available to BKFC's international broadcast partners worldwide and via stream to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices through FITE.