At Bare Knuckle FC 9, amongst all the knockouts, the rematch between Jason Knight and Artem Lobov, and the announcement of the signing of The Iranian Hulk, Chris Sarro put on a perfect and brutal knockout of John McAllister. The Bare Knuckle newcomer is the northern New England Golden Gloves champion. And with boxing and MMA under his belt, Sarro has found his home in Bare Knuckle FC. We talk about that in this interview, along with his aspirations, the fight itself and more.
Bare Knuckle FC 9 was by far Chris Sarro’s biggest stage he’s fought on by far. After a picture perfect win, Sarro struggled to take it all in, but not in a bad way (unless you’re a bouncer at the club, more on this later).
“It was amazing. It took a few days for it to sink in completely. There was too much to process, just the magnitude of the whole thing, but it was amazing. I learned a lot about myself that night. A lot of people were wondering how I’d deal being on a platform that big and honestly, it was nothing but fun. It was all healthy nerves. There was no fear at all. It was all just let’s go beat that ass.”
Chris Sarro’s Path To BKFC
Sarro has a boxing background, which is perfect, but lacking from BKFC. Most of the promotions fighters, and it’s highest profile fighters, are former or current MMA fighters. We’ve seen the hype Paulie Malignaggi brought to the promotion. Boxers are it’s next great foray, and Chris Sarro is one of the first.
“I am the current northern New England Golden Gloves super heavyweight champ,” Sarro said. “I fought these two guys back in January, both had 100 pounds on me. I was 210 and one was 317 and one was 332. And we beat them both and we won the northern New England Golden Gloves.”
Sarro continues, “I had been talking with Dave from BKFC way before that. He said we needed a knockout in that first pro fight. I knocked this guy right out. After I won the gloves I signed the contract. I was 7-1 as an amateur in the New England circuit. I fought in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York City, under Gleison’s gym, and Heather Hardy. I’ve worked with a lot of people. A lot of rough places, and all together it’s been 11 years. We just turned pro this past summer. A lot of boxing, they’re bringing a lot of that into the sport. It was exciting. I couldn’t wait to see how it was going to feel with no gloves on. It was too easy. We’re hoping for a challenge this next one.”
Now, his 11 years of hard work is paying off. Sarro had perhaps the most technical knockout at BKFC 9. He compares bare knuckle to boxing, saying it’s more primal and a true form of fighting.
“It’s way more exciting to me. I love boxing through and through. I have boxing on both sides of my family, my uncles and grandparents. We all know it’s one percent making money and 99 are struggling. It’s not about money for me, but at my age, I want to be compensated well if I’m going to put my body at risk. But, aside from all that, the shit’s just exciting. The idea of just bare knuckle brawling in front of a bunch of bloodthirsty fans, they’re not all bloodthirsty but a lot of them are. That was the thought right when I walked out. I was looking around and I thought, ‘This is coolm, this is pretty cool.’ I get to do something that not a lot of people get to do in a lifetime. For me it’s just exciting. That was just the best rollercoaster ride ever. I can’t wait to do it again.”
Chris Sarro loves sanctioned fist fighting. It was weird to him at first. “When I [knocked out] John McAllister, my instincts were like, ‘Now we run.’ Then I realized that no, I am getting paid for this. People are applauding and people like this. If it happened in the streets, it would be aggrivated assult. So your body just takes it in from all different angles. You don’t go to jail at the end of the night and you get paid for it.”
As for the damage, McAllister suffered a crushed orbital, detached retina and his eye was sitting on his cheek. All from one straight right.
“When we went back stage, the EMTs are touching his eye and they’re talking about things being detached and hairline fractures and stuff like that. John goes, ‘Yeah, they think it’s a detached retina.’ They told him to go to the hospital and he told them no. He went out and did an interview. I don’t want him to be injured. You want to go get checked out when your eye is sitting on your upper jaw. I felt bad for him. That’s just the name of the game. He would have done that in a heartbeat, you know?”
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate John McAllister for hanging around after the fight like he did with his injuries. Absolutely insane.
Game Planning Is Everything
The fight plan was simple for Chris Sarro. Set up the right with the jab. He did exactly that, one time too. That’s all it took. He started the fight pumping his left, range finding as McAllister was head hunting. He kept his opponent at range. His first actual strike cut McAllister wide open. It wasn’t long after that Sarro blasted his adversary, finishing the fight.
Sarro says, “I have to simplify things in my head. We didn’t want to complicate things, with the audience and the lights. I didn’t see any of that. If you watch me when I get in the ring, I’m locked into my prey, looking at his neck, I don’t know why. It’s like a primal thing. It takes over me, that’s no show or gimmick. That’s pain that I’m getting to let out. You guys are getting to see an honest moment that two guys share. You’re stripped even more of your masks and stuff because it’s not boxing, it’s not MMA. This is bone on bone. It brings something out of you. I’ve noticed that watching these fighters. You watch how they present themselves and it’s different from when they do in MMA. I keep using the word primal, like a cave man feeling.”
He continues, “I came out there confident and I stuck to my gameplan. I set up my range.” Pointing to his left arm, Sarro said, “This is my general, and he tells my army when to attack.” His army is his right, if you can imagine. “That’s the best advice my coach gave me. If your general doesn’t feel comfortable, your army doesn’t attack.”
“I’m pumping my jab and I’m putting things in his face. I’m keeping busy and he’s getting distracted. Very little people have figured out an answer to that. It’s like the Diaz brothers. They keep pit-patting you and keep tapping you and, boom, they they throw a power shot in there. I’m setting my range up with John, and the second I decide to go in there, I’m like, ‘Okay now, I’m going to land my jab.’ So I snap a jab and it cuts him open and I think, ‘That’s easy!’ As soon as I landed he cut right open and blood was dripping down.”
It was at that moment Sarro knew it was his fight to lose now. “I like that, some people when they get hit they back off. He was all game after that which is how he got knocked out. He was too overzealous. He lunged forward and he was doing the bring-it-on thing. The first jab cut him open. I probably threw twelve [jabs] keeping him at bay. The second I threw, he lunged forward and it snaps. If the jab can do that then the right hand is going to do some damage. You see me get real tenative because I know the fight’s over. The second I land this, I don’t know what it’s going to do, it’s going to blow his head off. We were both waiting on each other to throw the right hand. If you see, every time I feinted it, he feinted his. It was just who is going to do it first? Is the audience going to get to him or is it going to get to me? The audience will never get me knocked out. You can hear people getting quiet. Then he lunges, and I step back and launch that right, 1, and it was more of a straight right from my chest. It ended the night. He was in a lot of pain.”
It was all a part of the plan for Sarro and his team. They practiced and practiced exactly what the fight played out. “We knew we were going to do that, I said it before all my interviews leading up. I said, ‘When we go there, we’re going there to turn everybody’s heads. I want to step this game up a notch.’” And everyone’s head did turn. He continues, “I wanted to go out there with clean accurat strikes and get him out quick. He had so many bumps on his hands from breaks in weird spots from throwing punches all over. I’m a big fan but I wanted about to leave there with as little injury as possible. We knew it was going to happen, it was just cool to see it all come together on pay per view to see.”
Family In The Crowd
When I was at Bare Knuckle FC 9, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Chris Sarro’s father. Talking with him, he told me he normally can watch anyone fight and not bat an eye. But, when his own son fights, it’s a little tougher to watch. Sarro weighed in on having your parents watching you fist fight.
“You can’t describe it. It’s pretty surreal. When you have your parents there and your family’s there, and they’re in fear of what can happen to you, it puts a strong incentive on not letting another man ruin your night for your mom and dad. When he hits the ground, the first thing that goes through my mind is, ‘Thank God that all of my loved ones and friends don’t have to worry anymore.’ It’s surreal, man.”
As I mentioned earlier, bouncers weren’t too keen on Sarro. But, to his credit, he was in cloud nine. “I went to the afterparty and I was just floating around. You have to take your hat off when you go in the club. So I’m going across the floor and I’d put my hat on and the bouncer comes over and says, ‘ Hey, man, I’m telling you to take your hat off.’ I’m like, ‘Man why is my hat on again?’ I kept putting my hat on my head all night because I was just taken back by what happened.
The Future for Chris Sarro
In the co-main event of BKFC 9, Joey Beltran fought Chase Sherman and took his heavyweight title. I asked Chris Sarro if he’s be open to fight for the belt against guys that have had the experience that Beltran and Sherman has.
“All respect to both those guys. They’re great people. I’m around them all week at the hotel. But, I’m in this to be a world champion. That’s the damn truth. I’m going to bring a belt back to this town. That’s going to happen, I feel that in my core. It’s no disrespect there. I can’t deny what’s meant to be. I’m cruiserweight, they’re heavyweight. I can eat a few cheeseburgers and step up. But, I’m staying humble. This is my first fight in BKFC. Whatever direction they want to go, I’m listening to my boss. I’m not calling anyone out right now, but if anyone wants to get down, I’ve never turned a fight a way, that’s for sure. It’s just in my nature.”
Chris Sarro’s career is just getting started for Bare Knuckle FC. With such great hands, Sarro will be on the giving end of many more highlights for us fans.
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