BKFC Bantamweight Champion Johnny Bedford is ending his combat sports career.
The UFC veteran turned bare knuckler announced the news Wednesday on the BKFC podcast.
“It’s not an easy one. This last couple of weeks have been emotional.”
“It’s time. It’s time for me to call this fight game an end,” Bedford said.
“It’s not something I anticipated happening. I’ve been motivated.”
Bedford was to defend his title against former champion Dat Nguyen in January in South Carolina. During camp, the veteran realised he didn’t have the fire to compete any more.
“When I started getting ready to fight Dat after being out for 16 months, I realised that things have changed and Father Time is real,” he said.
“I’ll be 40 in two weeks and I had to come to the realisation.”
“To fight at the highest level, to fight a Dat Nguyen, I have to put in a serious training camp. I think I’m at a point in my life anymore where thankfully, I don’t have to fight.”
Bedford’s wife is expecting their third child. He also owns two martial arts schools. His recent successes in bare knuckle and life came after a 20-year journey and plenty of struggles.
“I’ve done this to buy diapers and pay rent and do whatever it took,” he said.
“I used to fight twice a month just to pay bills.”
“Because of bare knuckle and smart decisions I made with my money from bare knuckle, I’m finally in a position where I don’t have to do this anymore. And it was probably the hardest decision I made.”
Bedford retires with an impressive bare knuckle record of 7-1. His sole defeat was to Nguyen, a former pro boxer who defeated him by decision.
BKFC President Dave Feldman thanked Bedford for his contributions after Bedford announced he’s retiring.
Reggie Barnett Jr is the promotion’s current interim champion. Barnett Jr has called out Nguyen, who recently returned to BKFC.