Bare Knuckle FC is all the rage in the martial arts community right now. It’s violent, controversial, and exciting. After seeing Jim Alers through Leonard Garcia fight at BKFC 7 last August, I had to speak with him.
Alers absolutely obliterated Garcia. Then, on October 19th, Alers knocked out Julian Lane at BKFC 8. Finally, we had the chance to speak. In the interview, we talked about Bare Knuckle FC, his next goal, and much, much more.
Jim Alers is having fun; pure, unadulterated fun. “I’m just here having fun. I like that people are just like, ‘Man, this guy is crazy.’ Everyone I meet, everyone I haven’t seen in a while is like, ‘Man, you’re crazy to do bare knuckle,'” says Alers.
Much fuss has been made about the damage bare knuckle fighters take during a fight. It’s a common sense thought, with all the cuts and blood, it’s not for the weak-stomached. But, Alers doesn’t see it that way, and he’s learned that from experience.
“Honestly, I’ve had less injuries in four months, it’s only been four months, I’ve fought three times in four months, than I’ve ever had in MMA fights. So far I’ve been blessed, looking good, I’ve been walking out looking pretty, still. Everything’s still good. I want to be a jack of all trades, I tell people. I want to say I’ve done it all.”
Bare Knuckle isn’t about winning, it’s about entertainment
One thing I’ve noticed when talking to bare knuckle boxers is that they’re not there to win, per say. I mean, sure they want to win the fight. But not so much emphasis is put on notching a W. It’s about entertaining the fans. Dave Feldman, CEO of Bare Knuckle FC, has gone out of his way to make that completely clear with the fans of the organization. Alers sees it the same as the promotion president, and it worked wonders on his mindset.
“There was so much pressure in MMA and the UFC and whatnot on winning. That pressure is gone now. My head is just in a better place. I was going through a lot when I was doing MMA. I am just out there and having fun. I’m going out there with my best friend, my boxing coach who is my best friend also, and my wife in my corner and it’s been coming in dancing, just hanging out talking real late, having a good time with good food. We’re out here just having fun. The pressure’s gone. I’m not worried about ‘Oh, if I go out here and lose, my record’s going to be messed up. If I lose I don’t get half of my pay.’ That pressure is gone. The hard work’s over, it’s literally just having fun from here.”
Bare Knuckle FC, the Promotion
Dave Feldman is loved by almost everyone that works with him. Jim Alers speaks highly of him as well. “Dave is a great guy. He has always been a man of his word. I just spoke to him earlier, he’s doing a fund raiser to raise money for some families for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I was like, ‘Man, I love what you’re doing, this is awesome.’ Just a good guy over all. I love to be working for him.”
Another thing all Bare Knuckle FC guys tell me is that the promotion is home for them. Alers agrees with the sentiment. Bare Knuckle is the promotion where he’s really flourished.
“Right now, Bare Knuckle is the place for me. I’ve been having a good time, there’s no complaints from me. I wish I got a little mic time after the Julian Lane fight. I’m not sure why I didn’t get to speak my mind about what I want next. But, it is what it is.”
That last statement led into our next topic perfectly…
What does Jim Alers want next?
“Everyone knows I want that Artem [Lobov] fight.”
Fans can salivate over that thought for a while. Artem Lobov has become the promotion’s biggest star after a monster fight with Jason Knight and another high profile file fight with boxing world champion, Paulie Malignaggi. Those two fights Lobov won. Jim Alers believes he is next in line to fight Lobov.
“I know Artem and Jason [Knight] fight next. I want to beat him, I want the money fight. I’ve proven it, weather it be Artem or whoever. My next fight I want the title shot. I deserve a big spot. I came in three weeks notice against Garcia, ran through him. I was like, ‘Uh, Julian Lane?’ He’s still a tough guy. Leonard Garcia was, or still is, the 165 Bare Knuckle champion in Mexico. He won the belt against Julian Lane. It’s called the Latino Chip or something like that. Julian Lane was the champ for a short period of time when he beat Jimmy Sweeny over in England. Not saying I ran through them, but I ran through them. I just want that belt. I take it one fight at a time, so we’ll see what’s next.”
So, will we see a Lobov-Alers faceoff should Lobov beat Knight at BKFC 9? There’s a possibility:
“I’m told I’ll be at the fight in Biloxi.”
MMA and Bare Knuckle Compared
Like many who have competed in Bare Knuckle FC, Alers has been on both sides of the street; MMA and bare knuckle boxing. Jim Alers says the simplicity of bare knuckle boxing is what makes this the sport for him.
“For me, MMA there’s so much that we have to do. There’s not enough hours in the day to get my wrestling in, to get my Jiu Jitsu in, to get my boxing in, to get my kickboxing in, to get my wall work in, my conditioning in. There’s so many aspects. It’s not just Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing, you know? Wall work is a whole other aspect. Getting up after you’ve gotten taken down is a whole other aspect. Conditioning, wrestling, boxing, there’s so many different things. In [Bare Knuckle] you just have to focus on stand up.”
Alers feels like he’s found out the secret to success in Bare Knuckle FC. “My goal, I had three rules to winning. First, I put God first. Second, have fun. Third, hit someone faster and harder than they hit me and it’s been working,” says Jim Alers. “I’ve been working on hand speed, fast paced cardio also. I’m able to put out a lot of energy and continue to do that for two minutes. All my workouts I do two minutes on, one minute off. So I’m pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, then one minute active rest. If you saw the Julian Lane fight, I sat down for ten seconds. I got up and was looking at him saying, ‘Get up! I see you sitting down, I know you’re tired.’ That’s the goal, just out pace them.”
While Alers hasn’t done any knuckle boards to improve his hand dexterity, he plans on doing that amongst other things.
“I haven’t been doing any [knuckle boards]. My hands aren’t too bad. I want to, I don’t want to have these fights and not be able to move my hands in a couple years. I definitely need to condition them. There are different things that I’ve talked to people about so I can start doing them in the future.”
Call your shot, Alers
Jim Alers is all in on Bare Knuckle FC. He doesn’t watch any other sport, even MMA and the UFC. He’s past that.
“Honestly, I don’t watch any other sport. I barely watch MMA now. I watch because I’m a match maker for a promoter down here called Combat Night. So I try to see other fighters and stuff about other fights or other sports. If you tell me to name some NFL players, it will be from like ten years ago. It’s pretty bad.”
So if there was one guy, one fight from any sport, MMA or boxing or anything, who does he pick? Alers wants to go big or go home. “I was supposed to fight Conor [McGregor] back in the day, I know that ship has sailed probably. Me and Conor was supposed to fight a couple times but it got scraped. But, if I have to settle for Artem, I’ll settle for Artem, you know? I’ll beat him up a little bit and hopefully Conor gets upset that I trashed his boyfried and then we’ll see what happens.”
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