Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold got a taste of bare-knuckle boxing on April 29, and hinted he’ll likely stick to a gloved combat sport after he suffered a gruesome facial injury.
“Well f***, what can I say?” Rockhold said in an Instagram video while showing a nasty cut on his lip and a broken front tooth. “You can check bare knuckle off the list — some crazy s***. Those little knuckles got me square on the front two. Maybe a beard, maybe a better mouthpiece. It’s a good fight. It’s a shame it had to end that way. Motherf******, Mike, you tough bastard. Congrats. Thanks to my sponsors, thank you to the people. I’m not done — some gloves would be nice, though.”
Rockhold’s bare-knuckle debut was called off by the referee in the second round after the American was unwilling to engage with his opponent, Mike Perry, after pointing to his mouth. After the fight, the headline bout at BKFC 41 in Broomfield, Colorado, promotion president David Feldman confirmed to the media that his teeth “definitely got messed up pretty good,” but that’s all the detail fans had until Rockhold’s Instagram post the following morning.
Rockhold Is in Search of His First Combat Sports Win Since 2017
Rockhold, who turns 39 in October, made it clear in the video that he doesn’t intend on heading back to retirement yet. He had announced he was walking away from fighting after his last loss — a unanimous decision defeat to Paulo Costa at UFC 278 in August 2022. But instead of quitting altogether, he left UFC and signed a one-fight deal with BKFC.
Now that Rockhold is once again a free agent, it’s unclear where he goes from here. He’s 1-4 in combat sports since dropping his UFC 185-pound strap to Michael Bisping in June 2016, with his sole win in the stretch coming in his next fight, a September 2017 match against David Branch. He won that fight by knockout.
Rockhold has a professional mixed martial arts record of 16-6, which includes six wins via KO/TKO and eight by submission.
Perry ‘Was Shocked” With the Result of His BKFC 41 Fight
Perry, who was 2-0 in bare-knuckle fighting heading into the bout against Rockhold, told reporters after the fight that he was “shocked” with how the fight ended. “I was ready for another round,” Platinum said. “I was just shocked because I was like, ‘Man, that was too easy after all that hard work.’
“I think I was just getting into the fight,” said Perry, who is 31 years old. “I was just digging into the body shots. He wasn’t liking it. I jabbed him once and he didn’t like it.”
Perry, who had a 14-8 record in mixed martial arts before his UFC contract expired in October 2021, was stung in the opening frame by Rockhold. But, the fact that Platinum took the punch gave him more confidence that he could handle the power of the bigger fighter. “Your size and your weight, I’m still Platinum at the end of the day,” Perry said.