Eric “Blood Axe” Olsen, a man who thrives on controversy. More hated than Colby Covington, more brash than Chael Sonnen. Yet regardless of public perception, a true pioneer of bare-knuckle boxing.
Over the years, Olsen has had run-ins with fans, fighters and promoters. He remains very unpopular amongst certain sects of the combat sports world and has taken to the role of the ‘bad guy’ like a duck to water. But where did it all start and has it always been this way? Olsen states that his infamy in bare-knuckle boxing began when he first signed for English promotion BKB back in 2016: “It started when I came over and I refused to agree blindly with fans… There is this idea that because I am in someone else’s country that I have to be respectful at all times, f*** that!”.
Olsen hails from Levittown, Long Island, New York and has been through the wars with English fans. He recalls one particular experience from BKB 8 against Sean Donnelly, that perfectly sums up his relationship with opposing fans: “I had Grandmothers, children and fat middle-aged men screaming and snarling in my face, ‘You’re gonna die, You’re gonna die’. Then 15 minutes later after I beat their boy, they are coming up to me and congratulating me and then act surprised when I tell them to f*** off. That double-sidedness is something I’ve seen almost exclusively in England”.
“I’ve had two attempts on my life back home in America, so when fans are sending death threats to me it’s personal. I’m getting ready to kill you.”
“I didn’t go to college, I went to prison. The guys I was looking up to in my 20’s were convicted murderers and drug lords. My whole moral outlook is completely different. I spent six and a half years in state prison, I was young and it was fun, but it’s not the life for me anymore”.
Olsen’s key controversies come from these aforementioned volatile exchanges. “Blood Axe” found himself in a violent dispute with a fan after a war of words turned ugly: “I had one guy turn up to a venue I was at with a hammer. He thought I wasn’t there anymore, so just turned up to look ‘hard’. Needless to say, I was still in the area. When he stepped out of his car and started threatening me with the hammer, I threw a brick at his head and narrowly missed. He started backing up after that and jumped into his car before driving off.”
Back and forths with fans have become commonplace for Olsen, one glance at his social media will reveal that. Winding up fans is what he does best, and he certainly provokes a reaction. Whether it’s ripping into England for its ‘inferior culture’ or mocking the appearance of supporters, Olsen does not pull his punches and has received criticism as a result.
Wades of fans have openly condemned statements made by Eric Olsen, particularly those of a sensitive nature. Eric has in the past made threats to kill adversaries which for many, is going too far. Although I am an advocate for free speech, I can certainly see why Eric isn’t for everyone. What I will say is this, a lot of statements made by Eric are to be taken with a pinch of salt and should be seen as darker forms of humour, as it is rare these comments are made in jest. Eric has been on record to state that the large majority of his social media arguments and comments are for ‘banter’ purposes. It’s clear Eric is just looking for a reaction and enjoys annoying people, after all, press is press. Regardless, he remains a figure of controversy in the sport for his social media tirades.
Love him or hate him, Eric Olsen is a prominent figure in bare-knuckle boxing. He gets people talking and to me has always been a fascinating character to follow. Currently, Eric holds a professional bare-knuckle record of 6-4, winning his last three fights back to back. As a result of his recent successes, Eric is set to face Anthony Holmes for the vacant World Super Middleweight Title (14.5 stone). A fight Eric describes as “to the death”.
This next fight is locked in for 11th October, (unless things change again due to COVID-19), on the stacked BKB 22 card which will be broadcasted live on FITE TV pay-per-view. Pre-order link coming soon!
For the MMA fans reading this article, you‘ll also be able to see Eric Olsen throw down in the cage soon. The Bellator veteran will be fighting over in Serbia for MMA promotion Megdan, in a soon to be announced super fight. But it doesn’t stop there! Eric is booked in to compete for Polish vale tudo company Wotore, in their Wotore 3 tournament. Wotore for those who aren’t aware is a bare-knuckle vale tudo show which incorporates headbutts and has no weight classes, much like the first UFC tournaments. An article on that is coming soon!
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