Mike "The Marine" Richman BKFC 21 Fight Shirt
Richman, a pro in MMA since 2008, will make his Bare Knuckle FC debut at BKFC 17 on Friday, April 30 at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL..
While some of the rules vary between bare knuckle promotions, Richman is grateful for the knowledge and experience he gained prior to signing with BKFC.
"It gave me a little more experience in the bare knuckle game," Richman said. "Punching bare knuckle, taking shots bare knuckle. I learned the bare knuckle style. Although they were different formats and different rules, it was still different than MMA. It brought a different energy."
While Richman is a military veteran with three combat tours under his belt, his love for combat sports came prior to the Marine Corps' implementation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program in 2001.
"I did enjoy doing MCMAP, but it was still in its very beginning stages," Richman said of the program's start during his enlistment. "They were just beginning to implement it, but I was always a huge fan of combat sports. I first was a boxing fan over MMA. I grew up watching and ordering boxing pay-per-views. I also grew up competing in wrestling. I always had the desire to fight.
"Once I really saw MMA start to blow up, even before the days of Dana White, I really wanted to do it. It was kind of in my nature. I think I was born with the competitive nature to kind of want to fight. I think being in the Marine Corps, in the infantry, kind of added to that 'fight mentality.' It was something I wanted to pursue. I was moving up fast in the Marine Corps as they say. I was promoted meritoriously to Corporal, then meritoriously promoted in combat to Sergeant during my second deployment to Iraq. I did three tours to Iraq and I was going to be a 'lifer,' as they say but I had this underlying desire to get out and pursue mixed martial arts. I didn't want to be 10 or 20 years down the road and saying, 'I could have done that.' I canceled my reenlistment package with the intent of, 'if I fail at fighting, I can always go back into the Corps in a year or two.' So, I got out and things worked out."
With more than 30 pro fights under his belt, Richman is widely considered a true combat sports veteran. Even with all the experience, fighting isn't everything for Richman.
"It's difficult," Richman said of balancing fighting, work, and family. "Bare knuckle gives me just enough time to get in there and train. It would be really, really difficult to be a general manager and still compete at MMA at a high level because of all the various disciplines. With bare knuckle, I only need to focus on one discipline and I can zone in and focus on that discipline."