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BKFC 19: Why are these “influencers” fighting?

Because you’ll pay to watch them even if you don’t buy the pay-per-view, as their currency is clicks.

Rapper Blueface attends a Party Hosted by Blueface at Tiger Tiger on March 10, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage

Here’s why you’re the sucker.

The biggest draw of the six “influencers” as part of the “Platform Showdown” at the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event BKFC 19 on Friday night in Tampa is rapper Blueface. He’s got 1.8 million subscribers on Youtube, and this is his latest single that came out last week.

But listen to him discuss how his fight with TikTok star Kane Trujillo came together.

By his own admission, this is a non-athlete fighting a person he doesn’t know. Not for a title or to improve his standing in the sport, or even to settle a grudge.

Where in the history of boxing, MMA, or any other combat sport has this ever been a thing for any reason?

But if boxing wants to hang on as a part of the American sports landscape, this might be the best opportunity. Because while the superfights for the Deontay Wilder’s and Tyson Fury’s and Canelo Alvarez’s of the world are terrific, the lower-to-middle-tier of the sport is buried in corruption, mismangement, and promotion issues.

The influencers draw eyeballs, and then hopefully you stick around and enjoy what else you see. It’s a simple business model, but it’s not what we would traditionally consider sport either.

Whatever you want to say about the UFC’s Dana White, and there are plenty of things that likely need to be said, at least he hasn’t gone down this rabbit hole of spectacle. Yes, he still puts Greg Hardy on pay-per-view, but at least Hardy is a legitimate athlete.

But here’s Blueface’s opponent “Neumane” on why he’s fighting a rapper whose music he admits he likes:

“It’s obviously the thing now with these social media influencers, they’re sort of merging into this fight game. I was asked to be a part of it, man, and I couldn’t turn it down. The money was cool obviously. But the recognition, the publicity, and the experience — bro, this is going to be once in a lifetime. Everyone wants to see a brawl. Two influencers going at it, two celebrities going at it — I don’t think anything is more entertaining than that.”

So let’s call this a fight, because both these guys are going to hit each other in the face for money and publicity. But let’s not call it a sport, because this isn’t an athletic endeavor. It’s an appearance by a pair of minor celebrities. It’s the same as a cameo on a multi-camera sitcom in the 80’s. Or a week-long appearance on The Match Game to promote your new movie.

So online there is “beef” between some of the other fighters on the card, but it’s likely as real as The Hills or The Bachelor. This is all about getting clicks and drawing attention any way you can. If you want to see it, we linked to their social media profiles below. Because that’s what they’d want us to do anyway.

Here are the three fights/celebrity appearances taking place in Tampa on Friday night at BKFC 19.

Blueface vs. Kane Trujillo

Evil Hero vs. Dakota Olive

Nick Ireland vs. DK Money