By nearly all metrics, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is enjoying an uptick in popularity with several recent high-profile events in the rearview mirror. On the heels of Mike Perry winning the King of Violence title at BKFC 56 on Dec. 2, the promotion seems to be riding a wave of momentum.
However, the increased number of eyeballs has not translated into an equivalent amount of financial success.
In a recent interview with Sirius XM, BKFC president Dave Feldman stated the prevalence of illegal streaming has significantly cut into the bottom line and the profound effect it had on last weekend’s event.
After telling “Unlocking the Cage” host Jimmy Smith about favorable outcomes regarding sponsors and gate revenue, Dave Feldman admitted that BKFC 56 “definitely got pirated” after an initial tally of pay-per-view buys fell far short of the estimated 1.3 million viewers.
“We probably did closer to 100,000 buys and it’s just discouraging because when you go in here and you do these projections and you’re like, ‘This is the way it’s trending’ – this one was trending towards 275,000 buys. That’s what it looked like in the marketing and all of the media trending into it. And it didn’t get there and it’s just because people are stealing it and it sucks.”
Dave Feldman’s Change of Heart
This represents a dramatic change of heart from earlier in the year when Dave Feldman appeared on the same platform shortly after BKFC 41 (another event headlined by Perry) and addressed the effects of piracy on BKFC.
“We anticipated to do more pay-per-views than we did. We still did good. We did six figures in pay-per-views, a little north of six figures, which is very, very good for us. We projected to do almost double that, though,” Feldman said to Smith. “We actually just got a report in today that says they found 734,000 illegal streams from that event…I’m not even pissed off. That’s 734,000 people that watched this event on top of the people that bought it,” he continued before stating they would work to combat the issue in the future.
That future, one where the promotion is less concerned with the perception and social media buzz surrounding an event and more intent on collecting money from the audience, has arrived as Feldman’s excitement about high viewership has been replaced by disappointment. “I can’t keep saying, ‘Wow, 1.3 million people watched us or 2 million people watched us,’ because they’re not fricking paying for it,” he said in his most recent appearance on the show.
Feldman is looking to close the gap between viewers and their wallets with an unspecified solution moving forward. “I talked to a guy yesterday that said he came out with something for piracy that’s really going to work and he says it’s changing the game. Who knows? But if it works, that’ll be great.”