On Friday, May 5, Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA will kick off Cinco de Mayo weekend with the first-ever state-sanctioned Bareknuckle MMA event in Florida, topped by an explosive three-round “bombs away” battle between hard-hitting former UFC and Bellator Heavyweight star Roy “Big Country” Nelson and dangerous knockout artist Dillon “Bad Boy” Cleckler.
The 12-fight event will take place under the unified rules of MMA, minus gloves, and the main card will be broadcast for free live at 8:00pm ET via Jorge Masvidal’s Youtube and Facebook pages, plus the Gambred Promotions YouTube and Gamebred FC Facebook pages. The event takes place from FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, with tickets to the live event available through Ticketmaster HERE.
The broadcast will be helmed by well-known commentator, rock star and former MMA pro Robin Black and UFC star Marlon “Chito” Vera. Boxing legend Roberto Duran will also be in attendance at the event, as a guest of Masvidal’s.
“I came up fighting in the streets and backyards of Miami with nothing but my fists, so this is really about me getting back to my roots as a fighter,” said Jorge Masvidal, retired MMA superstar and Founder of Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA. “Putting two competitors in there with no gloves and nothing standing between one another – that to me is pure fighting,” “That’s what I’m aiming to do with Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA – strip the sport down to its primal essence. And we’ve got some great fighters on this card. So, tune in on Cinco de Mayo to get a taste of what’s to come as we’re planning to bring a lot more bareknuckle action in the future.”
“I can’t wait for this historic event, the first ever sanctioned Bareknuckle MMA in the state of Florida,” said Dean Toole, President of Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA. “This is going to be an absolutely incredibly stacked card with elite fighters from all over the world. It’s Cinco De Mayo, it’s F1 weekend, we’re in the FLA Live Arena, what more can you ask for?”
The Las Vegas native Nelson (23-19 career MMA record) competed as an MMA heavyweight from 2004 to 2020, for elite organizations such as the UFC, EliteXC, the IFL, BodogFIGHT, and most recently for Bellator MMA. Nelson won The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights and went on to gain tremendous popularity and success as a top 10 UFC Heavyweight.
The 6′ 0″, 265-lb Nelson is also the former IFL Heavyweight Champion, competing under Ken Shamrock and the Lion’s Den. He holds notable victories over Mirko Cro Cop, Kimbo Slice, Cheick Kongo, and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The beloved fan favorite says he’s expecting an all-out war for as long as the battle with Cleckler lasts.
“I’m glad to be a part of history on May 5,” said Nelson. “I’m going to get in the ring and show the world how real men still fight!”
Pensacola, Florida’s Cleckler (11-1 career MMA record) also competes in bareknuckle boxing and boxing and has become known as a vicious and powerful striker. Cleckler will be returning to MMA for the first time since 2019, but has gone on to have four bareknuckle boxing fights (3-1) with his only loss coming to Arnold Adams in a championship fight last May. Arnold most recently stopped Josh Burns in round one of their boxing showdown in April on Gamebred Boxing 4.
The 6′ 3″ and 246-lb has never gone the distance in a fight and says he doesn’t expect to start against “Big Country” Nelson.
Fighting in my home state of Florida for the first ever sanctioned Bareknuckle MMA fight against a legend like Roy Nelson is an honor,” said Cleckler. “He’s a guy that paved the way for people like me to compete in this sport and I’m excited to challenge myself against one of the best to ever do it.”
Also scheduled that night are bouts featuring five former UFC veterans, one former PFL Light heavyweight world champion, and also Bellator and Pride alumni. Additional event details will be announced shortly. On fight night, doors open at 5:00pm ET and the first fight will begin at 6:00pm ET.