Anthony Smith a fan of BKFC, but not so much of Diego Sanchez ending up there

anthony smith
Apr 23, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Anthony Smith gestures while on the scale during weigh-ins for UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight Anthony Smith considers himself a fan of bare-knuckle boxing and its preeminent organization Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. However, he is not a fan of former UFC star and new free agent Diego Sanchez joining the organization.

Fifty-one fight veteran Smith (35-16) has a serious understanding of the damage that can be inflicted in a long career spent in mixed martial arts. He has had his fair share of wars inside the cage and it’s also why he has his reservations about the next chapter in the Hall-of-Famer career of Diego Sanchez (30-13) coming in a BKFC ring after 43-fights.

The 39-year-old Ultimate Fighter Season 1 champion competed inside the Octagon on 32 occasions and had quite a few brutal battles that can alter a fighter’s long-term health. Sanchez was released from his long-time home in April after an inconsistent run over the last few years where he looked far past his prime. His long and violent history in the sport is why the former 205-pound title challenger has concerns about Sanchez competing for BKFC — a promotion he is in talks to join — or any fight promotion for that matter.

Anthony Smith not onboard for seeing Diego Sanchez in BKFC

“That’s the last place I wanted to see Diego end up,” Smith said on the Real Quick with Mike Swick podcast. “That’s not what we need at all. I’m disappointed in that. I don’t want to sh*t on Diego. He’s had a long career, he’s taken a lot of shots; it’s because I care about Diego. It’s the opposite of trashing him.

“… I don’t know if there is a place I would be okay with Diego going, to be honest with you. Because if he went to another organization that was going to be able to pay him what he needs to be paid, or what he’s earned, he’s not getting easy fights. He’s gonna go to Bellator so they can use him to prop up some young savage? I don’t think that’s any better than bare-knuckle. Same with the PFL. PFL doesn’t give a sh*t about your legacy. I would say PFL is one of the purest forms of promotion. It’s just a bracket.”

Smith says he’s ‘addicted’ to BKFC

Although he may not be on board with the notion of “The Nightmare” competing in BKFC, “Lionheart” considers himself a big fan of this age-old sport made modern. And not only is the sixth-ranked light heavyweight a fan of BKFC’s product, but you can also count Mrs. Lionheart as a supporter of the growing industry too.

“As far as bare-knuckle, I’m addicted. I love this sh*t. I think it’s very interesting. It’s new. It’s just different. I think it gives an opportunity to a lot of these unknowns, and maybe people who don’t really fit anywhere. You see a lot of these guys and girls in bare-knuckle; they weren’t fantastic boxers and they weren’t fantastic MMA fighters but they found somewhere kind of in the middle and I’m here for it,” said Smith.

“I’ve really been enjoying it. My wife is a big fight fan. She loves MMA. She loves the UFC, she likes Bellator, PFL. She’s not really not big into boxing. It’s not enough action for her. If bare-knuckles on, I can’t pull her away from the TV. That’s kinda my gauge on it. I don’t think I could ever do it. I don’t think my hands would hold up. I think I’ve had too many hand surgeries for that sh*t.”

Smith will next compete in the headliner of UFC vegas 37, on September 18, against LFA and Dana White’s Contender Series alum Ryan Spann. The UFC veteran has won two straight, with his most recent victory being a first-round technical knockout of Jimmy Crute at UFC 261 in April.

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