Wyoming is ground central for a painful new form of pugilism, bare-knuckle boxing. The World Bare Knuckle Boxing Federation recently announced their inaugural event at the Casper Events Center on Friday, November 9th.

Billed "Rise of the Titans", the pay-per-view card features 14 bouts with fighters from several mixed-martial arts disciplines. The Main Event pits Bellator MMA veteran "Irish" Brennan Ward versus former UFC Welterweight Champion Johnny "Big Rig" Hendricks. Longtime UFC competitors Chris "The Crippler" Leben and Phil Baroni will also fight along with former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Shawn Merriman.

In June, Cheyenne hosted the first legally sanctioned bare-knuckle boxing card in the country since 1889. The event drew a sold-out crowd, generated thousands of pay-per-view buys, and received international media coverage.

Wyoming was the 28th state to consider bare-knuckle boxing when a bill to regulate the sport was pushed through the State House by former Representative and MMA fighter Bryan Pedersen in 2012. Before it was banned in 1889, bare-knuckle was the most popular spectator sport in the west. A young Wyatt Earp once promoted bouts in the Cheyenne Depot.