Luis Palomino has looked superhuman throughout his legendary career with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
But of course the champ is human, and he admits he made a mistake Friday after his unanimous decision victory over the previously unbeaten James Lilley.
Palomino was dissatisfied with his seemingly conservative, “lackluster” performance against Lilley. In the heat of the moment, with the combat sports world watching, the fired-up Palomino told the sold-out crowd at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that if they were to expect a more exciting fight out of the champ, it would have to be against a more highly touted opponent.
“I definitely regret saying that,” Palomino says in retrospect, now that the dust has settled from the weekend. “Of course when you hear that it sounds like I’m playing it safe in there, but playing it safe has never been my style.”
In reality, Palomino has the utmost respect for Lilley. Palomino, 42, injured his hand during training camp, and the injury flared again on fight week. Palomino’s comments could’ve been read as a slap in the face to Lilley, fans of the sport and BKFC, but Palomino says he just got caught up in the heat of the moment. He didn’t want to blame his lackluster performance on an injury – he says that would’ve come off as an excuse, and he wanted to respect Lilley by not implying that he defeated him while injured.
So, sometimes as humans will do, Palomino said something that wasn’t true. He’s an honest guy, but he wanted to quickly change the narrative and didn’t think about the consequences of his words on the mic. He regretted it right away and now wants to set the record straight.
“I have huge respect for James Lilley – I respect anyone who steps into the ring. The truth is, sometimes when you have two very high-level fighters, it becomes a bit of a stalemate in there,” he says.
“My hand was compromised and James is a very skilled, tough opponent. It wasn’t the best fight of my life, and I just wanted to turn the page. Sometimes you have to make the most of a bad situation, and I did what I had to do to get the win”
Palomino says fans should expect a return to classic form in his next trip to the Squared Circle, where he’ll look to become the first fighter to ever win their first 10 fights under the BKFC banner.
“Taking risks and putting on exciting fights is what has gotten me to this point,” Palomino says. “Putting on a show for the fans is something that’s really important to me – it has been my entire career.”