BKFC 41: Mike Perry TKOs former UFC champ Luke Rockhold, faces off with Conor McGregor
A Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship card headlined by Mike Perry was bound to be chaotic, and then Conor McGregor showed up.
The BKFC 41 card ended in bizarre fashion on Saturday with its main event between Perry, a former UFC veteran who is 2-0 with the upstart promotion, and former UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold.
Late in the second round, Rockhold abruptly ended the fight after taking out his mouthpiece and pointing to his jaw. The exact nature of his injury is unclear, but the end result was a TKO win for Perry, who went 7-8 in the UFC.
Luke Rockhold and Mike Perry exchange big punches at the end of the first! #BKFC41 | LIVE on #FITE pic.twitter.com/7RGVl7yei8
— FITE (@FiteTV) April 30, 2023
The real fun came after the fight, though.
Conor McGregor had been spending much of the card — which also featured Eddie Alvarez defeating Chad Mendes by split decision and Mendes announcing his retirement — sitting in the front row and occasionally chugging his badly reviewed whiskey.
Perry apparently noticed the presence of the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, as he called him up for some words and a faceoff. McGregor entered the ring with a BKFC title belt, for some reason, and warmly embraced Perry.
Mike Perry calls out Conor McGregor for a face-off and @TheNotoriousMMA accepts. He enters the ring with the BKFC title over his shoulder.#BKFC41 | LIVE on #FITE pic.twitter.com/DoCw7OZTZP
— FITE (@FiteTV) April 30, 2023
The BKFC host took advantage of the opportunity to ask McGregor for his review of the experience, and McGregor's answer might make UFC president Dana White a little queasy about the possibility of one of the most lucrative names in MMA looking elsewhere:
"It's an incredible set-up here. Incredible match-making. Incredibly storytelling. I had to come here. I flew straight away, I was not going to miss this and it did not disappoint. All these fighters that stepped in here are warriors and all have my respect. I'm into this game."
McGregor followed that up by asking a very reasonable question:
"How am I showing up here and already I have got the belt?"
It has been 21 months since McGregor last stepped into the Octagon, but he was announced to be facing Michael Chandler for his next bout back in February. The details for that fight, such as a time or location, have still not yet been announced. Floyd Mayweather has also mentioned another boxing match could be on tap.
The state of McGregor's MMA career remains in a bizarre limbo, in which it seems the Irishman has more money to make by not fighting given how things have been going in that area. McGregor still has won only one match since 2016, against an aged Donald Cerrone, and might still be smarting from his infamous back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier, the latter of which saw him futilely barking at his rival while sitting with a shattered leg. His personal and legal travails haven't ended either.
McGregor still knows how to win in the game of grabbing attention, though, and he seems to like the potential of BKFC. That could mean nothing, or it could foreshadow the next step of his career. The fun of Conor McGregor is there is never any way to tell.