Valor BK 1 goes down Saturday, September 21st in New Town, North Dakota. The Ken Shamrock promoted BKB organization has its debut show at 4 Bears Casino and Ken was excited to discuss the show with us. The card features notable MMA names, champion boxers, and hungry local fighters looking to make their name on the Bareknuckle Boxing scene. Sokoudjou in Valor BK comes in the form of him participating in a one-night tournament to crown the promotion’s first-ever heavyweight champion.
Valor BK 1
Sokoudjou in Valor BK will first see him toe the line with Mighty Mo. This was once supposed to be a fight in ROAD FC according to Sokoudjou and he seems to be chomping at the bit to finally have this fight happen. He said, “I mean he’s got power. He’s a dangerous fighter. I watched him growing up fighting in K1 and everything. So it’s pretty exciting.”
The rest of the tournament field includes Mark Godbeer and Jack May with a reserve bout between James McSweeney and Brian Heden. With multiple possible matchmaking permutations that could happen, Sokoudjou is just looking at what’s immediately ahead of him.
He said, “The focus has been on me because you don’t know what’s going to happen. The reality is on Saturday anything can happen. They have a reserve fight. They have an alternate so you can focus on a couple of guys. The possibility of fighting any of them is just crazy so it’s one step at a time.” Sokoudjou continued, “It’s an honor to step into the ring with these guys and I’m just blessed to be part of it.”
The tournament also has significance going forward as the winner becomes the first Valor BK heavyweight champion. Sokoudjou is locked into his opponent and not letting his mind wander to thoughts of having gold wrapped around his waist.
He had quite an interesting assessment of the tournament and what it’s going to take for the winner to eventually emerge victoriously. Sokoudjou said, “The guy who wins the tournament is not the most skilled. Just the healthier of all of us. So it will be quite interesting.”
MMA to BKB
There wasn’t some convoluted backstory associated with getting Sokoudjou in Valor BK. He was simply given an offer and it stoked his competitive fires in a pronounced way. Sokoudjou said, “You know it’s my coach who texted me “Hey you want to fight bare-knuckle”.I’m like ‘f*** yeah’ because I’ve been training with guys like Chris Leben and other guys fighting. It triggered my interest into it.”
Sokoudjou continued, “I guess you can call me an adrenaline junkie. I guess just the excitement of the unknown. I don’t want to be the guy saying maybe I should have done it. F*** it, I’m gonna do it, and here I am.”
When asked about the differences between BKB and MMA, he kept the answers pretty matter of fact. Sokoudjou said, “Just a lot of boxing and less grappling, that’s all. That’s the only difference.” Sokoudjou continued, “Injuries. That’s the only difference I can think of because win or lose you’re going to come out of there banged up. So just get ready for it.”
His last MMA fight was a second-round KO/ TKO victory over Jamie Abdallah at Kunlun Fight MMA 16 in October 2017. I was curious about this hiatus and what this latest bare-knuckle foray meant for Sokoudjou ‘s MMA future. He said, “I’ve had numerous offers that came that just didn’t come through because of various reasons. This one actually came up and came through with it. Contracts and everything take a minute to come together.”
Sokoudjou is working with Joey Beltran who has been able to reinvent himself on the bare-knuckle circuit. To have another veteran with insights into both MMA and BKB has been invaluable for Sokoudjou ahead of his bare-knuckle debut. He said, “Beltran has been doing it for a minute. He was helpful pointing things out and punching me in the face the way he likes. So it was fun.”
Losing the Locks and Standup Comedy
Sokoudjou will be losing the gloves for this one but he’s going bare in other areas as well. His iconic locks are no longer something he sports and Sokoudjou has been going with more of the bald thing lately. When I asked him why he got rid of such a classic MMA look, he said “I was talking to this chick I told her ‘hey I love my vagina shaved.’ She said, ‘ok I’ll shave my vagina. B****, you shave your head.'”
Sokoudjou has had some relatively recent forays into standup comedy the last few years. It seemed like he was looking to flex a bit of those muscles in this interview. When I asked him if he saw anymore comedic efforts in his future, Sokoudjou said, “I haven’t done any stand up for a minute but I’m thinking about getting back into it.” There will certainly be no funny business this weekend though.
VBK 1 looks to carve out a lane for itself in the ever-growing BKB landscape and is aiming to make a big first impression this weekend. The event goes at 4 Bears Casino but BKB enthusiasts can order at home on FITE and Direct TV. Check out Valor BK on social media to follow along with all future updates and happenings.