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I’m sitting at my desk watching the video again, for the third or fourth time. It doesn’t take long to get through it, only 18 seconds. The violence is even less than that…a matter of seconds. Sam Shewmaker’s right-hand catches Eric Prindle squarely in the cheek sending the Season Five Bellator MMA tournament winner to the ground. It was swift and impressive. It’s the return of bare-knuckle boxing.
The sport was outlawed in the late 1880’s but is making it’s revival thanks in-part to Missourian Sam Shewmaker. On June 2nd, Sam competed in one of the first state-sanctioned fights in U.S. history in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
My phone receives a text from Sam. “We’re here.”
I take a deep breath and think “We’re here? Did Sam bring a couple of his buddies, an entourage of muscle in case this podcast goes south? I thought this was just going to be a one-on-one conversation? What’s up with this intimidation tactic?”
I mean I’m going to ask him what in the world possesses someone to want to punch another guy…in the face…with his bare hands? What if I offend Sam or one of his henchmen?
I walk to the front door of our studios and there he is. Sam Shewmaker did indeed bring his posse with him from Versailles. His wife Lauren and their three sons Dalton, Jaxson and Mason, ages 7-9. I let out a sigh of relief…this won’t be as bad as I feared.
Throw out all your preconceived notions of what you may think about the sport of bare-knuckle boxing and the competitors themselves. Many argue bare-knuckle is safer than MMA or traditional boxing. There is strategy and surprisingly an enormous amount of mutual respect between the competitors.
You’ll learn about Sam and his family. They are God-loving, down to earth, patriotic people with a plan. Sam found his calling and he is on the verge of becoming the sport’s pioneer.
Follow Sam on Twitter His next match will be with gloves when he boxes in Jefferson City at Capitol Plaza Hotel on June 29th.