Bare-knuckle boxing hasn’t been officially sanctioned in the U.S. in over 100 years and now one of the godfathers of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) movement wants to bring it back, despite the misconception of the spot’s risks.
Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch, Cannon Brazilian Jujitsu, has been making headway in an effort to garner attention to the true and original form of boxing in which fighters used their bare-knuckles over today’s methods of padded gloves.
Ritch, who was recently featured in Rolling Stone, is currently ranked #3 in the world in bare-knuckle boxing and #1 in the U.S. and is also considered the most active MMA fighter in the world with 208 total fights, 114 wins, 92 losses and 2 draws.
“I have a lot left. At 45-years-old I feel that I am at the top of my game and in my prime. I’m winning at the highest level in MMA, BJJ, and now fighting for a world title in Bare Knuckle”
“The Cannon” gets his fire from being stuffed in trashcans by bullies during his school years and growing up in Coolidge, Arizona, which isn’t the most friendly of places due to the diverse spread of ethnicities throughout the town’s population.
In an exclusive behind the scenes Intellihub interview, Ritch told Intellihub about one of his favorite career highlights.
“It was when I fought Sakuraba in Pride at the time Pride was the Super Bowl of MMA, Japan was the pinnacle of MMA and Saku was the number one fighter in the world at the time.”
It’s a memory that will stand out in “The Cannon’s” mind forever and was absolutely one of the best eras that Mixed Martial Arts has ever seen, aside from the early days of skull crushing.
Nicholas Black wrote the following blog post, which really explains Shannon’s true personality. An excerpt from the post reads:
“It’s just a fight,” says Ritch. “You have to put your ego aside, not suffer future pain and
live in the moment. You can’t change the past and the future will take care of itself. You do the best you’re capable of, learn from the experience, and then move on. Regardless of the outcome, it’s way better than having a real job.”
Coming from the mouth of a man who’s fought names like Dan Severn, Frank Shamrock, Sakuraba, Yuki Kondo, Jose Landis-Johns,Cacareco, Chris Brennan, Fabiano Iha, Evan Tanner, Diego Sanchez, Benji Radach and countless others, his words seem understated, almost inappropriate, as if he should give himself more credit for the countless years spent in the cage.
But when you have a warrior’s mentality, fighting just seems to be something that you do, not something that you have to think about.
Ritch doesn’t just fight in cages and rings, however, he has worked as a bodyguard and security consultant in some of the most dangerous places on the planet.
The early history of the sport
“The first bare-knuckle champion of England was James Figg, who claimed the title in 1719 and held it until his retirement in 1730. Before Jack Broughton, the first idea of current boxing originated from James Figg, who is viewed as the organizer of cutting edge boxing. In 1719, he set up a ‘pugilistic foundation’ and charged himself as ‘a professional in the Noble Science of Defense to instruct boxers on the utilization of clench hands, sword, and quarterstaff,” according to Wikipedia.
Now modern critics of the sport fear that bare-knuckle boxing is dangerous, however that is now even being argued by some of the biggest names in the business.
Recently UFC commentator Joe Rogan came forth on his podcast and explained how he thinks there should be no gloves or wrist-tapping allowed in the UFC period and in fact even believes that such ‘precautions’ are even more dangerous to the fighters. In fact Rogan said that “it’s much more rare that boxers break their hands then MMA fighters,” with gloves you almost can have “no concern” for your opponent.
“The real answer is no gloves. Not only no gloves, but no wrist-tapping.”
Additionally Rogan and his guest agreed that grappling with MMA gloves on is basically “like wearing oven mitts.” Which is no real way to fight. If you look at it from another perspective, gloves give the opposing fighter, on the receiving end, the same effect that a padded wrecking ball would give a building, it would pummel it to death slowly after making many strikes to outer structure. In the same respect the human body reacts the same way, so the theory is get the fight over sooner than later.
As far as the current rankings go, Ritch is one of the best. One online publication points out the Top 10 ranked world heavyweight contenders listing Ritch as #3 and the #1 in America.
Shannon the Cannon is currently in Moscow Russia and will soon be returning to the Mainland U.S. for his much anticipated Bare Knuckle Miami fight with “The Gunn.”
The $100K fight: Bobby Gunn vs. Shannon Ritch
Via Rolling Stone:
On June 11, he will defend his title against Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch – a journeyman legend in MMA – at the Miccosukee Reservation in Miami. The fight is only the second sanctioned bare-knuckle event in the United States since 1889, and Gunn has been working for years to raise the sport from the illegal underground to mainstream legitimacy. But after world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury recently stated he would pay £100,000 to anyone in the U.K. who could beat Gunn, Ritch decided to make his own public wager, betting $100,000 in a winner-take-all, man-to-man side bet against Gunn (the money will be in addition to the title belt and purse already on the line.)
Shannon will be on the podcast in several weeks to talk about bare-knuckle boxing, news and politics.
Shepard Ambellas is an activist, journalist, filmmaker, film producer, radio talk show host and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub. Established in 2013, Intellihub.com is ranked in the upper 1% traffic tier on the World Wide Web. Read more from Shep’s World. Get the Podcast.