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Nico Hernandez signs with BKFC, makes bare knuckle debut March 14th

He is 7-0 as a professional

BOXING-OLY-2016-RIO Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Can’t say I saw this one coming.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC) announced today that they’d signed 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez, who will make his promotional debut on March 14th. The press release says that he’ll compete in the “122-pound flyweight division,” which I’m assuming is a typo.

“BKFC is doing some amazing things in combat sports,” said Hernandez. “This is as real as it gets, and now I get to punch someone in the face without gloves. I can’t wait to fight for the fastest growing combat sports promotion in the world. When I step into the ring on March 14, the gloves come off!”

See me after class for that last sentence, young man. That low-hanging fruit is beneath you.

Hernandez (7-0, 4 KO) swept his first three Olympic opponents on the scorecards before running into Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov, who did not lose a single round on his way to winning light flyweight gold. He made his pro debut a year later and has since competed entirely in his native Kansas; oddly, despite fighting thrice each in 2017 and 2018, he’s been out of action since last February.

Hernandez is far from the first pro boxer to step into the bare knuckle ring, but when the previous highest-tier active fighter to do so was Dat Nguyen, the move is bound to raise eyebrows. At 24, he’s got plenty of time to indulge his curiosity; I just hope his hands hold up.

BKFC returns February 15th with UFC veterans Hector Lombard and Joe Riggs at the helm.

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