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Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in Delray Beach on hold over contract dispute

City delivers knockout to event days before scheduled match at Delray Beach Tennis Center
Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 11:00:36-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — It's called bare-knuckle fighting and it's now at the center of a different type of fight in Delray Beach.  

Dat Nguyen should be prepping for Friday night's fight as the headline event for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 38. Instead, he’s fighting back his emotions.

"I'm a little bummed out. I've been ready, training, in tip-top shape," he said. "I was ready to jump on the scale and fight tomorrow and I just got the news. Man, so sad."  

What the promoter described as a sold-out event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center is now postponed until next month over what appears to be a disagreement over the contract for the event.  

City Manager Terrence Moore told Contact 5 that the city of Delray Beach has a relationship with Delray Beach Boxing LLC for "traditional boxing matches" and not Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, which he claims was only brought to his attention just two days ago.  

"The agreement with Delray Beach Boxing LLC does not provide an opportunity for that organization to connect with a third party in any way, so, likewise, there's no opportunity to proceed as noted," Moore said.  

Joe Samara, the promoter, told Contact 5 over the phone Thursday afternoon that third-party organizations are the industry standard in this type of event and claims he was not aware that he couldn't bring on a third-party as the city manager claims. Samara called the city's decision heartless.  

"The city of Delray Beach has never had an agreement to govern such an event with either organization," Moore said.  

"They spent a lot of money, they booked hotels, they flew down here from New York, California, around the world, to come here and watch me fight, and now they heard the bad news," Nguyen said.  

Samara told Contact 5 that he notified the city more than a month ago that the event involved bare-knuckle fighting.  

According to the city's contract for the event, it can be canceled by the city with or without cause at any time.  

In a Facebook post, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship claims tickets will be honored for the new April 21 date and refunds will be made available to those who cannot make the new date.  

The promoter said a new location has not yet been selected.  

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