Blood is certain to spill as bare-fisted fighters seek glory in December at Denver’s Stockyards Event Center.
The bludgeoning known as the BYB Extreme Fighting Series will make its Colorado debut in what is dubbed the Rocky Mountain Brawl for two headline title fights.
And, Colorado native Kody “Big Mo” Mommaerts will return home to bring energy to it all as ring announcer for the event on Dec. 2.
From a childhood in Superior to becoming a football player for the University of Northern Colorado, Mommaerts, now 27, has emerged as one of the fastest-rising ring announcers in combat sports.
He splits his time between the United States — including his current home in Denver — where he calls bare-knuckle fights, and England, where he calls boxing matches and championship bouts for BOXXER that air on Sky Sports, one of the largest boxing platforms in Europe.
“I’m super, super excited,” Mommaerts said of the upcoming Denver matchups in a call to Colorado Community Media from London. “I started my announcing career in Colorado doing some regional stuff and some more local shows … then, my career grew rather quickly. So, I haven’t announced in Colorado in probably a year and a half now. I’m excited to get back and announce in my home state, have some of my friends there and stuff like that as well.”
After being crowned back-to-back “Ring Announcer on the Rise” in 2019 and 2020, Mommaerts was recently named the “Bareknuckle Hall of Fame 2023 Announcer of the Year.”
While bare-knuckle fighting might be new to some, Mommaerts said the sport has enjoyed a wave of popularity in recent years.
He’s confident it will be well-received here as Denver is a town that simply loves its sports.
“I think, like the rest of the country and the world, you’ve seen a rise in bare-knuckle (fighting) in the last few years,” Mommaerts said. “I don’t think that there was a big market for bare-knuckle in Colorado even a few years ago, but the sport has grown a lot. More states are starting to legalize it. It just got unified rules under the American Boxing Commission. So yeah, it’s just growing, and it’s exciting.”
The upcoming BYB bout is being promoted as a co-main event.
Mark “The Shark” Irwin is set to defend his BYB lightweight title against Julio Tanori. And, champion Monica Medina will collide with Paty Juarez for BYB Women’s lightweight and Police Gazette World Diamond Belt trilogy. Each fighter has one win already, making their Denver clash the trilogy tiebreaker.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off a historic 2023 than to give Denver fight fans a taste of what real bare-knuckle fighting is all about,” BYB CEO Greg Bloom said in a release.
“In the smallest ring in combat sports, with the tightest corners, and with nowhere to run. Denver fans will experience a night of straight-up fist fights rather than the cardio clinics that have been masquerading as bare-knuckle brawls in their state. There’s nothing like a BYB event.”
BYB, around since 2015, was founded by Dada 500, once the bodyguard of esteemed fighter Kimbo Slice, and the star of Netflix’s “Dawg Fight.”
Dada 500’s unique backyard-style, bare-knuckle fights gained internet popularity, and the sport has become a cult favorite since. This is the 22nd brawl event in BYB series history.
The BYB’s small and unique triangular ring results in a 90% knockout rate for its fights, making for fast-paced, action-packed fights.
The league also features high-profile personalities from other combat sports on its broadcasts, including the UFC’s Mike Goldberg, former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi and Claudia Trejos from sports streaming service DAZN.
Medina is ready for payback after a controversial split decision in her last bout against Juarez.
“Three strikes and she’s out,” Medina said in a statement. “I’m wrapping this trilogy up in spectacular fashion in her own backyard and leaving no doubt.”
Irwin is also ready to bring the electricity this December.
“Being the biggest star in BYB, I think it’s only fitting that I’m headlining the end of year event and I’m excited to go out there and remind everyone why I’m in this position,” Irwin said.
The bill is “probably the most exciting fight we can bring,” Mommaerts said.
“It’s definitely an exciting sport, definitely fast-paced, and I think Denver is going to enjoy it a lot,” he added.