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Alan Belcher Ends Retirement, Signs with BKFC for Expected August Debut


Bare-knuckle boxing promoter Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship has scored yet another formerly retired Ultimate Fighting Championship name.

Per ESPN on Thursday, Alan Belcher (18-8 MMA, 0-0 Box) has signed with BKFC. His debut as a bare-knuckle fighter will take place in August, and his opponent has not yet been determined. Belcher last competed in MMA in 2013, where he suffered an eye poke from Michael Bisping that forced a technical decision.

In 2015, Belcher announced his retirement from the sport, saying in no uncertain terms, “I’m done fighting. I’m finished. I’ll never, ever fight again. This is my official retirement.” This retirement allowed Belcher to train several UFC standouts in D’Iberville, Mississippi, but at 37 years of age, the itch to compete needs to be scratched again.

Belcher concluded his MMA career on a two-fight decision skid, losing to Yushin Okami at UFC 155, and then having the unfortunate ending with Bisping in April 2013 at UFC 159. Before those losses, Belcher pounded his way to contention with knockouts of Wilson Gouveia and Rousimar Palhares. Those first-round knockouts bookended tapouts that he elicited from Patrick Cote and Jason MacDonald. As a pro, the middleweight known as “The Talent” retired at the time with a finish rate of 89 percent.

Far from the first ex-UFC talent for BKFC, the bare-knuckle league has picked up names including Jason Knight, Gabriel Gonzaga, Leonard Garcia and Paige VanZant since its first event in 2018. BKFC has also enticed formerly retired members of the sport to join its ranks like Chris Leben, and also lured a few boxing crossovers like Paulie Malignaggi and Nico Hernandez, to name a few. The next BKFC card will take place on June 4, with four championships on the line that night at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

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