The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, or BKFC, may be the only sanctioned event of its kind in the United States, but that doesn't make the bouts any less bloody or brutal.
This form of pugilism first gained popularity near the end of the 17th century, but was eventually pushed underground with the introduction of the Queensbury rules in 1867 — which mandated the use of gloves in all bouts. The International Boxing Hall of Fame dates the last significant bare-knuckle bout in the U.S. to 1889, when John L. Sullivan went 75(!) rounds against Jake Kilrain. But this summer the sport returned to the U.S. with the inaugural BKFC event, which took place in Wyoming in June and was sanctioned by the state.
BKFC prides itself on being what it calls "the truest form of bare knuckle fighting": fighters are allowed to wrap their hands, but not within 1 inch of the knuckle. Getty Images staff photographer Chris Graythen was on hand at MS Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi, on August 25 to cover the second edition of the BKFC’s premier event — the Bare Knuckle FC 2. Here, through his lens, images (many of them graphic) of the ferocious fights.
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