An online article criticizing Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, the organization behind next month’s bare-knuckle-championship event taking place in Florida, has elicited a reaction from BKFC. The organization’s official response says the article written by Chris Stokel-Walker of Newcastle, England, “made multiple false and misleading statements” and contained “misinformed and inaccurate reporting” regarding the event originally scheduled for June 11th.
In its response, BKFC indicates one possible motive for Stokel-Walker’s attack, telling the writer “you sing the praises of a U.K. Bare Knuckle Boxing organization. Your article is less journalism and more a smear campaign against us and an attempt to promote your home team.”
The official reason BKFC gave for the postponement is to give the boxing world in general, and the bare-knuckle boxing world in particular, time to mourn the loss of Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice. Stokel-Walker may have heard of Muhammad Ali, but he’s likely unfamiliar with Kimbo Slice who was a legend in modern bare knuckle boxing. His article claims “Rumors abound in the boxing and MMA worlds that the deaths are simply being used as a convenient excuse for the fight’s promoters to cancel the event because of lagging ticket or pay-per-view sales.”
Any kind of evidence would be nice. Stokel-Walker is not even sure if it’s ticket sales “or” pay-per-view sales. When creating fiction, it helps the verisimilitude to be precise. But any time you see in a supposedly journalistic article the phrase “rumors abound,” you know you are not dealing with a real journalist. E.g., rumors abound that Chris Stokel-Walker fellated a 12-year old in a Newcastle Central Station loo. But you won’t see as yet unsubstantiated claims of that nature printed in a journalistic paragon like the Police Gazette!
In addition, if Stokel-Walker’s lazy journalism wasn’t already clear enough, the Gazette has discovered that half of his article was plagiarized word-for-word from an uncredited author.
As for the claim that bare knuckle boxing is doing better in England, that scene has had many more years in a friendlier legal environment to organize, grow, and mature. We’ll leave it to the reader to judge for themselves its current level of quality after all this time. As the birth pangs of the sport continue in this country, however, BKFC has made it clear the emphasis will be on highly conditioned, serious athletes competing at the top of their form. The threading of legal needles necessary in bringing that about remains a challenge, but a surmountable one.
Journalistic hit jobs are designed for one reason: click bait. And those who engage in it are the bottom feeders of journalism. Knowing they will never amount to anything in the world of legitimate reporting, they can only make desperate attempts to “be somebody” by hurling random accusations at well-known or up-and-coming figures without the bothersome tedium of acquiring supporting facts and corroboration.
And if the magazine that published the article has an envy problem with Rolling Stone—or the Police Gazette—then that’s a case for a periodical shrink and won’t be dealt with here.