A small town has become the unlikely home of ‘barbaric’ bare-knuckle fighting - but despite the sport's brutal nature, the matches are 'settling scores' between rivals.
Not for the fainthearted, these bloody battles have been set up by organisers to resolve conflicts in a ‘controlled way’ and 'keep the violence out of pubs'.
Two of the organisers of Bare Knuckle Street Fighting Brawls - Derek Heggie and Lee Hornby - say they’re ‘stopping what would be worse violence'.
“We’re ‘fighters first’… the fighters get looked after because [we] know what it takes to step in there and do it,” they said to YorkshireLive at one of their events.
Taking place in a field just outside of Bridlington, Yorkshire, Bare Knuckle Street Fighting Brawls is a rustic version of bare-knuckle boxing. The latter sport dates back to the 18th century, yet had a serious resurgence in 2022.
In September of last year, it was announced that Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC) had acquired the existing UK-based Bare Fist Boxing Association (BFBA).
BKFC’s first event took place in Newcastle upon Tyne in November 2022. However, since then, more and more events such as Bare Knuckle Street Fighting Brawls have been popping up all over the UK.
Thankfully, safety is a priority at the events - with them being routinely watched by a UK First Aid Academy employee.
Phil from the company told YorkshireLive: “We’ve done a full risk assessment for [this event] I’ve done it myself so it’s all above board.
“We’ve got all the kit we need to deal with anything that might happen, there’s a defib, the lot."
Phil added that the UK First Aid Academy had previously experienced a couple of these bare-knuckle fighting events, saying: “We’ve been to a couple of these before, the most we’ve had to deal with has been cuts and bruises as it happens.
“There was a deep cut last time around. That could have been stitched, it will leave a scar but the lad didn’t seem to mind.”
During the event that YorkshireLive was reporting on, a member of the public had allegedly called the police to the fighting.
However, after checking the legality of the event and the sporting arena, they apparently left.
Following the police taking leave, co-organiser Andrew Smith said: “See, it can’t be barbaric can it, if we’ve got the sign-off from the police? If there was an issue they would have stopped it but we’ve got the go-ahead.”
Andrew then added: "This is keeping violence out of the pubs, it is getting bigger and bigger each time we do it and people are responding to the message.
"We're doing everything right to make sure it's all organised properly now and you can see with the amount of people here, you can see the respect the fighters have for each other."
Tickets for the event are apparently highly sought after, costing a hefty £40 on the makeshift door.
However, before spectators are allowed to watch the bare-knuckle fighting take place, they’re checked by security for any inappropriate or prohibited items.
But once they’re given the all-clear, they’re allowed on the field and the brutal games can begin.Featured Image Credit: MEN Media