Ex-UFC champ says no to Jorge Masvidal’s bareknuckle show

Another former UFC champion on their way to bare knuckle combat? Not so fast.

By: Zane Simon | 4 weeks ago

Bareknuckle fighting has become something of a landing spot for yesterday’s MMA stars. Whether it’s boxing offshoots or, as is the case here un-gloved MMA with Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred FC. Fighters like Fabricio Werdum & Junior Dos Santos (who are facing off in the main event of the Gamebred Bareknuckle show on September 8th), Roy Nelson, and Luke Rockhold have all made the move to bareknuckle combat in recent months.

Alongside JDS and Werdum, the upcoming September, the Gamebred card will feature UFC vets Brandon Jenkins, Anthony Njokuani, Irwin Rivera, Joshua Weems, Brandon Davis, and Maki Pitolo. It was also apparently supposed to feature another former UFC champion.

Ex-UFC champ Renan Barao nixes Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA fight

Back in late June MMA Fighting reported the tentative lineup for this Gamebred fight card. Alongside confirming the rumored heavyweight main event, they also announced a fight between Renan Barao and Sean Soriano. For Barao, the booking appeared to be just the latest attempt to reboot his combat sports career.

Ex-UFC champion Renan Barao in 2019.
Ex-UFC champion Renan Barao in 2019. – Joe Camporeale IMAGO/USA Today

Despite having not fought as a professional since 2019, Barao has been announced as a competitor for five separate promotions now. A planned 2020 fight with UFC vet Bobby Moffett for Taura MMA in 2020 fell apart due to COVID restrictions, and a 2021 headlining bout with Premier FC was cancelled when Barao’s opponent no-showed the event. 2022 fights with Eagle FC and Ares FC both failed to materialize as well.

The only time Barao has found himself in the cage lately was an exhibition bout against Brazilian politician Simao Peixoto. In what was very obviously a completely worked fight, Barao even lost that one, by submission in the third round.

Perhaps given his recent track record of fight cancellations and an embarrassing sideshow performance, it’s not much of a surprise to find out that Barao’s Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA fight isn’t happening. Especially considering, as far as I can tell, Gamebred FC never actually advertised the bout to anyone beyond assumedly releasing the info that the bout was planned to MMA Fighting.

In a recent followup story MMA Fighting reached out to Barao, who notified the publication that while he had been in talks with Gamebred, he never actually signed a contract for the event.

Renan Barao to fight on Alash Pride card?

Unlike Jorge Masvidal’s post-UFC project, Kazakh promotion Alash Pride has been advertising Renan Barao’s signing with the promotion to the public. Alash Pride 89 takes place on September 9th in Astana, Kazakhstan. The event is set to be headlined by former UFC bantamweight Diego Brandao taking on 12-3 featherweight Karshyga Dautbek. Renan Barao was announced for a fight with 14-4 featherweight Bagdos Olzhabay.

As of August 31st, however, there’s no sign that Barao has any intentions of competing in Kazakhstan either. The 36-year-old was last seen back in July competing on the International Master’s circuit at an IBJJF event. Olzhabay is currently booked to take on former UFC bantamweight Dileno Lopes instead.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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