19 Apr - 
Lobov, Malignaggi subject to VADA drug testing for BKFC 6

Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi will be tested a minimum of four times before their June 22 fight and once after, according to promoter David Feldman.

Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi will get drug tested multiple times ahead of their clash at Bare Knuckle FC 6.

Lobov and Malignaggi are subject to drug testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) before and after their main-event bout on June 22 in Manchester, New Hampshire, VADA announced Thursday on Twitter. Bloody Elbow confirmed the news with BKFC president David Feldman.

Feldman said Lobov and Malignaggi will be tested a minimum of four times before the fight and once right after. Additionally, six other fighters on the card will be randomly chosen to be tested after the event.

Feldman said only six other BKFC 6 fighters will be tested because drug testing is “very, very expensive.” He said he hopes to reach a point where every BKFC fighter is tested, but that the company needs to grow more before that can happen.

“That time will come hopefully sooner than later,” Feldman said.

Feldman said the addition of drug testing to his promotion further legitimizes it and the sport of bare-knuckle boxing. He said making the sport widely accepted has been one of the biggest challenges he has faced, but that testing his fighters will help with that.

“We decided we wanted to take a step up for this one,” Feldman said. “As we go on with every event, we’re going to step up a little more in something. But we thought that we needed to join the big leagues with the VADA or USADA type of testing to make sure that these fighters are clean.

“I do think it puts an exclamation point on the fact that we are not a flash in the pan, we are not a money grab here. We’re trying to grow this sport and we’re trying to become legitimate. We feel that being associated with VADA takes us one more step in that direction.”

There is a lot of heat between Lobov, a former UFC featherweight, and Malignaggi, a former boxing world champion. Their feud dates back months and stems from Malignaggi’s short stint as Conor McGregor’s sparring partner ahead of a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Lobov and McGregor are close friends and train together at SBG Ireland.

Lobov and Malignaggi were involved in an altercation earlier this month at a BKFC media event ahead of Lobov’s BKFC debut against fellow UFC veteran Jason Knight, which he won by unanimous decision. During a staredown, Malignaggi slapped Lobov in the face and the pair nearly got into a scuffle.

Lobov entered the Knight fight with the provision he would fight Malignaggi next if he beat Knight. Malignaggi signed with BKFC just before Lobov beat Knight; the Lobov fight will mark his debut.

BKFC 6 also features a bout between former UFC middleweight Chris Leben and ex-Bellator fighter Brennan Ward in the co-headliner. Feldman said other fights will be announced within the next week.