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Shannon Ritch involved in high-stakes bet for upcoming bare knuckle fight

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A largely underreported bare knuckle boxing event just got a whole lot more interesting.

In recent years, we've seen a greater interest in bare knuckle boxing and events that forego the use of gloves for unarmed combat in general. These events are largely either underground or promoted by smaller organizations on pay-per-view, or under private events as seen in the 2011 documentary Knuckle.

We've seen various MMA fighters dabble in it as well, such as Ken Shamrock, who was originally scheduled to take on a bare-knuckle fight last year against James Quinn McDonagh, one of the main individuals that the aforementioned documentary focuses on.

Well, now we can add Shannon Ritch to the mix. Rolling Stone's Stayton Bonner reports the MMA veteran with over 130 recorded MMA fights will be competing in a bare-knuckle boxing event on June 11th against James Gunn. The most compelling part? Apart from the various other competitors expected to be on this card, there's a $100,000 side bet that Ritch has placed on himself to win. It should be specified that the money wagered is separate from his show/win purse.


"In addition to Ritch – a six-time MMA champion – the event will feature Bellator MMA pro fighters Josh Burns, Rudy Morales and Eric Prindle. Heavyweight pro boxer Danny Batchelder, who has fought for years in the underground, will defend his American bare-knuckle title belt against an as-yet-unnamed opponent. And fighters like pro heavyweight boxer Erik Leander, bare-knuckle rising star Henry Stewart and boxer Nelson Lopez Jr. are all hoping to make their mark in the only bare-knuckle match endorsed by Scott Burt, president of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.

Yet out of all the fighters, Ritch is unique in that he actually was on the ground floor of MMA. A former Blackwater security contractor in the Iraq War, the 45-year-old Ritch fought in the sport's early underground days, competing for cash in warehouses and barrooms across the Southwest, from L.A. to Houston to Mexico."

For those not familiar with Gunn, he's been an advocate for bare knuckle fights for years now, participating in many bouts. He also called out various Irish traveler boxers and another man who made a name for himself on the street fighting circuit, Kimbo Slice. Gunn claims he even approached Kimbo backstage after one of his most recent fights, yet a fight between them has never materialized after all these years.

Gunn has taken umbrage at the notion that Ritch would dare to place a side bet and has seen this as an act of disrespect. He also claims that this has motivated him to fight even harder to make a definitive statement.

The organization bringing forth this event is Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, and will hold a pay per view event on June 11th. This event takes place live from Miccosukee Resort and Gaming in Miami, FL. For more information, feel free to visit their website at