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Remy Bonjasky Announces Retirement After GLORY 14

  • Published in Glory

Remy Bonjasky

It should come as no surprise that Remy Bonjasky plans to retire after his bout with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic this weekend at GLORY 14 Zagreb, but then again, there has been zero chatter as to this being the Flying Gentleman's retirement bout. If you remember back to December, there was talk about the retirement of Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Remy Bonjasky and Jerome Le Banner, but retirements in the sport of Kickboxing are rather fluid affairs.

Today at the GLORY 14 Zagreb press conference Remy Bonjasky made it clear that his fight this weekend with Mirko Cro Cop would indeed be his retirement fight. Not only has age gotten to Bonjasky, but the same eye injury that forced him into retirement before has not relented, which has led to him being unable to perform like he used to. So when you watch this weekend know that you'll probably be seeing the final fight of a legend in Remy Bonjasky.

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Lion Fight 18 Competes For Your Time on Friday Night

  • Published in Muay Thai

This Friday night is pretty much unprecedented for Lion Fight. Usually when they are running events they are clear of most competition. There might be a minor Bellator card here and there, but it’s usually nothing of consequence. This time around, well, things are a bit different. On September 5th combat sports fans are treated to an onslaught of programming that means that inevitably, only one event can be watched at a time. You can DVR what you want to watch later, for sure, but three events at the same time? Some DVRs aren’t even capable of such feats. 

This Friday we get to see the first real event from Bellator that will have his fingerprints all over it. Cokertor will finally make its debut with a card featuring King Mo Lawal against GLORY kickboxer Dustin Jacoby. The Bellator Featherweight Champinoship is on the line in a rematch betweeen Patricio Pitbull and Pat Curran, then you have both Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley in action. This is probably one of the bigger Bellator events that we’ve ever seen on free TV, at least since they canceled that PPV and moved the show to Spike. 

Then, on the other side of the spectrum, we have the UFC. The UFC goes down the street from Bellator to Foxwoods in Connecticut with what is a really stacked card for hardcore fans on free TV. The main event is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi, a rematch from 2008. Then you have 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem against Ben Rothwell, which is an awesome fight. Add in Matt Mitrione and Joe Lauzon into the mix and you have an appealing free card for fight fans.

This is a lot of direct competition for Lion Fight this weekend. A lot. 

The Lion Fight Middleweight Championship is on the line as champion Yodsanklai Fairtex will square off against the game challenger that is Salah Khalifa from the UK. Then you have all-around bad ass Jason Andrada taking on Stan Mancebo in a bout that should feature excitement from beginning to end. Those are just the top two fights. The rest of the card is bound to provide quite a bit of excitement. In fact, to date, Lion Fight has yet to put on an event that would come anywhere close to considered dull. 

Nick Chasteen vs. Jose Palacios is another fight that you might not recognize their names unless you follow American muay thai and kickboxing closely, but this fight has the potential to be one of the better bouts of the night -- that’s across all three events -- and all you gotta do is tune in. Lion Fight has yet to disappoint and on Friday will have a lot of competition, but this fact alone, that Lion Fight has never disappointed, is reason enough to say that the rest can wait.

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Fighters are Human, Too, and We Need to Treat Them That Way

  • Published in Interviews

(C) GLORY

“These are the gladiators,” my father is fond of saying, “The people who agree to damage each other for our entertainment and money, and by god we’ll gladly pay them to do this until they are too beat up and brain damaged to do it anymore.” My dad is a fight fan. His favorite fighter is Fedor Emelianenko. He says this not to be crass, but to make a point: who accepts moral culpability for the violence entailed in combat sports? There’s three positions you can take: 1) You unequivocally reject combat sports because you reject violence. 2) You take the position of the opening quote, that the contract signed between the “gladiators” absolves everybody (including the fans who watch) of any moral responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of the fight, or 3) You acknowledge the violence but also appreciate and accept the moral consequences. I hope that if you’re a combat sports fan (and especially if you’re a fighter) that you take the third position.

To begin with, I don’t think that people who sincerely make statements like those above actually believe them. Serious acute or chronic injury, or worse, fatality, is not a permissible contingency held by many, and I would question the motives of those for whom it is. There may be those who genuinely believe in the idea that we shouldn’t feel bad about fighters getting seriously hurt, but I would argue that upholding this belief in even the most extreme circumstances is really testing its limits and challenging the scope and expectations that many fighters have about their own careers. No fighter wants to suffer a career ending injury, or worse, die.

Fighters are human beings. We get to see them get hurt, but we seldom see them suffer--physically, emotionally, and financially. They routinely suffer the types of injuries that most people would occasionally if ever experience and they experience more head trauma on a regular basis than most people ever would in a lifetime. We don’t get to experience and understand the personal sacrifices that they make to pursue their passion: career choices, time spent apart from loved ones, medical expenses, debt. Our insight is limited to a promoter’s media package and information publicized through outlets like this one. Fighters desire a quality of life just like anyone else. They have similar desires to make a living and provide for loved ones, even if this is very hard to do in their line of work. Their choice of profession is driven by a passion that any individual should aspire to find in their own careers.

Thus, to fans who believe that fighters have nothing to feel bad about when they hurt their opponent, why deny them their compassion? Why deny yourself compassion? The martial arts is for many practitioners a form of human expression, and while it is the practice of hand-to-hand combat, its prevalence as a component of the healthy lifestyles of many caring and compassionate individuals demonstrates that it doesn’t have to dehumanize; the countless moments of comradery throughout the span of kickboxing illustrate that. A quasi-Cobra Kai-like philosophy of violence without limits or control is malignant and destructive--and is thankfully not shared by many. Those who truly lack compassion in their hearts or who have a desire to inflict suffering when they step into the ring warrant our concern, not praise. It’s ok to care for the well-being of other people no matter what their chosen profession is.

This is the mentality that was reflected in the actions of Gokhan Saki at Glory 15 and articulated by other fighters in the aftermath of the event--there’s something to be said when professional fighters come forward, express their compassion, and demand the same from the fans. It should be the norm for anyone, fan or fighter. We should maintain the humanity to uplift people and celebrate their value, and we should also denounce voices who would seek to dehumanize, demean, reduce, or commoditize the people who we as fans have given our time, money, and appreciation. It’s the human thing to do.

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Full Card for Lion Fight 16 on July 4th

  • Published in Muay Thai

This Friday, July 4th at 9pm Eastern time on AXS TV the world will be treated to Lion Fight 16. Lion Fight 16 will take place at the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada and be an official part of UFC's International Fight Week. That means that the UFC will be helping Lion Fight to promote the event throughout the week and it should be an electric atmosphere on Friday. The event is headlined by Kevin Ross taking on Michael Thompson with the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship to be decided.

The event will also feature muay thai legend Rungravee Sasiprapa and Tiffany Van Soest in action. Here is a look at the full fight card.

Super Lightweight Title Bout
Kevin Ross vs Michael Thompson
Co-Main Event
Tiffany Van Soest vs Sindy Huyer
Super Fight
Rungravee Sasiprapa vs. Adrian Morilla
Tyler Toner vs. Gaston Bolanos
Josh Shepard vs Casey Parlett

AXS TV has also released the bloody, awesome video from Lion Fight 15 of Kevin Ross vs. Chris Mauceri. Check it out.

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Pat Barry Joins GLORY, Kickboxing Return in March

  • Published in Glory

The big news today is that it is official, Pat Barry has signed with GLORY Sports International and will look to return to Kickboxing immediately. Over the weekend we heard from numerous sources about a Kickboxing return bout to happen in March, which Pat Barry has also announced today. Pat Barry's Kickboxing return will happen at CSC 29 in Virginia on March 22nd. The card is also set to feature other American GLORY fighters such as Eddie Walker, Francois Ambang and more. Pat Barry's first opponent back will be Ed Burris.

Pat Barry

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Mirko Cro Cop vs. Remy Bonjasky: A Battle of Legends

  • Published in News

Glory

This weekend at GLORY 14 Zagreb two legends will once again face off in a Kickboxing ring under very familiar terms one last time. The new generation of Heavyweight Kickboxers has helped to define the young GLORY organization, fighters like Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven, yet the old dogs are still huge attractions for longtime fans. There is no doubt why they are still popular with longtime fans, as you can look no further than Peter Aerts and the few fights that he’s held under the GLORY banner, with them being some of the most exciting fights in the company’s short history.

For us Kickboxing fans nostalgia still runs deep.

I’ve heard some complaints about the fight between Mirko Cro Cop and Remy Bonjasky since the fight was announced a few months ago. The complaints tend to be that there is a new generation of Heavyweights that deserve the spotlight, that both Cro Cop and Bonjasky had their time in the spotlight, that it is time to move on. I don’t disagree with that, yet the fight between Bonjasky and Cro Cop is still appealing, with GLORY handling the whole affair tastefully. We already know that Remy Bonjasky has plans to retire shortly and Cro Cop might not have a lot of fight left in him, but that is what this fight represents. GLORY isn’t trying to shoehorn either man into the already-crowded title picture, instead both men are fighting each other in a rematch that fans have been waiting to see for over 12 years now.

Mirko Cro Cop’s original K-1 run was short-lived and saw him never able to claim the grandest prize of them all, the K-1 World Grand Prix. Cro Cop moved on to what he saw was greener pastures of Mixed Martial Arts, which was picking up steam in Japan at the time, with the rest becoming history. Cro Cop finally made a brief return to K-1 last year to work his way through the K-1 World Grand Prix, finally winning the prize that had eluded him for all of those years, but it still felt a bit hollow without top contenders like Saki, Ghita and Verhoeven involved.

Bonjasky, on the other hand, was only getting his storied K-1 career started by the time he met Cro Cop in the ring in 2002. It was a tough loss at the time, but Cro Cop would only fight one more time under the K-1 banner before he moved to MMA full time, leaving the field wide open. Remy Bonjasky went on to win the K-1 World Grand Prix three times, cementing himself as one of the all-time greats in the sport of Kickboxing. It was something that Mirko Cro Cop was never able to attain, even having beaten Bonjasky on his way out the door.

The clash between Remy Bonjasky and Mirko Cro Cop at GLORY 14 Zagreb is a battle of what could have been and honestly should have been. The fans never got to see what Mirko Cro Cop could have done if he stuck around Kickboxing for a few years longer, which would have definitely included more epic battles with the likes of Bonjasky, Aerts, Schilt and Badr Hari. At least at GLORY 14 Zagreb we get a taste of that. Sure, both men have aged and might not be the same fighters that they were in 2002, but they are the same men with the same drive and ambition to always fight their hearts out. I, for one, am looking forward to this clash.

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This Promo For LEGEND 3 is Bonkers

  • Published in Kickboxing

LEGEND

LEGEND 3 is coming up -- fast -- in Milan, Italy. If we've seen anything from LEGEND in the past few events, it is that they go big absolutely every time. This time around they've partnered with our friend in Italy, Carlo di Blasi, and his Oktagon promotion to ensure that everything for the event is top notch. The card itself is definitely drool-inducing for the discerning Kickboxing fan, then there is that bonkers promo video that they released. I don't even know, but it's really incredible, like nothing we've ever seen done to promote a fight card before.

 

  • FIGHT-CARD "LEGEND III: POUR HOMME"
  • (K-1 RULES, MILAN, APRIL 5, MEDIOLANUM FORUM):
  • 1. Armen Petrosyan (Italy) VS Alim "Professor" Nabiev (Ukraine), 70 kg
  • 2. Mohamed Khamal (Morocco) VS Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (Thailand), 70 kg
  • 3. Enriko "Goodan" Gogokhia (Russia) VS Alessandro Campagna (Italy), 70 kg
  • 4. Alexander Surjko (Russia) VS Paul "Semtex" Daley (United Kingdom), 77 kg
  • 5. Andy "The Destroyer" Souwer (Netherlands) VS Yuri "The Prince" Bessmertny (Belarus), 70 kg
  • 6. Pavel "The Caiman" Zhuravlev (Ukraine) VS Tomasz Szczepkowski (Poland), 93+ kg
  • 7. Murthel "The Predator" Groenhart (Netherlands) VS Dzhabar "Genghis Khan" Askerovв (Russia), 70 kg
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GLORY's Dustin Jacoby Victorious in MMA Return

  • Published in Glory

Dustin Jacoby made a big splash on the kickboxing world when he entered into GLORY after little notice. He entered a Road 2 GLORY tournament without much notice and was able to steamroll it, earning himself a spot on the main GLORY roster. Since then he's gone 1-5, but that has been against some of the best fighters in the world. He is still really learning to love kickboxing and there is definitely a possible future for him if they maybe scale down his competition to something more of his level.

This past weekend he fought for Titan Fighting Championship in his return to MMA where he made short work of Lucas Lopes with his striking. If you were to ask me if his striking has improved I'd probably give a big 'yes.' Jacoby's next fight is September 5th against King Mo Lawal in Bellator.

GIF via ZombieProphet.

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GLORY 16's Zack Mwekassa on Redemption and New Beginnings

  • Published in Interviews

GLORY

"Nothing beats faith and hope in life", Zack Mwekassa said.

Powerful words from a man who has obviously had to live at times on the strength of the meaning of those very words. In a bout that is sure to be explosive, the Glory family welcomes Zack Mwekassa, who is set to face kickboxing's returning son, Pat Barry, at Glory 16 in Denver.

Entering the Glory ring, with a 10-1-9, record, this Congolese fighter is ready to show the world what he's all about. Born the youngest of eight children, Mwekassa's life began as somewhat of a miacle. His mother, he stated, had years previously been told that she would bear no more children, only years later to have become pregnant with Zack and to have had his name revealed to her in a dream.

The son of a chemist, Mwekassa describes a life of happiness with his family but also of conflict between he and one of his older brothers. Conflict that set him on the path to a career in combat sports. The relationship which he characterizes as antagonistic, one day led his father to ask "Why don't you two behave normally? Why don't you get involved in sports, football, basketball, boxing, something!" Ah yes, boxing, through the power of that single suggestion, Mwekassa was on his way.

Although he admits that he initially wanted to be a pilot, Mwekassa began training at age 13. After a while he mused that he was no longer bullied by his brother, he had begun to develop skills that would physically give him the upper hand. From that time Mwekassa embarked on a road to success in the boxing ring that saw him doing whatever honest job, no matter how big or small, to support himself. By this time, Mwekassa states, he was living in South Africa following an arrest in 2004. In this early part of his career, Mwekassa, describes a period of intense struggle before he began to experience success in the ring. He recalls working as a sort of valet, guarding people's cars and at times not being paid for hours of work. Still he perservered, continuing to hone his skills as a fighter and eventually success did come with Mwekassa eventually earning UBC and WBF titles. There, however, often a dark side to success.

It's an often told story in the history of professional sports, many athletes experience a shift in the balance between training and enjoying the fruits of their labour. Id versus ego. He readily admits that for a time partying became more important than training. But as with us all, life has a way of delivering us a smack down that ultimately reorients us to reality, if we are smart. Mwekassa too, had such a rude awakening that caused him to reevaluate his priorities and return to his roots as a God a fearing, disciplined and focused man with his eyes on the prize. Today that prize is success in the ring with Glory and it begins Saturday, May 3rd with the match up against former kickboxing champ and UFC veteran, Pat Barry. Although he admits that prior to the bout being scheduled he had not heard of Barry.

Today Mwekassa presents feeling that he has done his homework and is prepared for the final exam. While he is excited and contemplates a long and bright future with Glory, he is today fully focused on Saturday's event. "No I don't want to call anyone out", he smiled and stated when asked if there were other opponents he would be interested in fighting. Win or lose Saturday night Mwekassa presents as a man is here to go the distance and if his past is in any way predictive of his future he will.

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Cris Cyborg: Negative Narrative, Uplifting Performance

  • Published in News

LF

 

There’s something awfully self-serving about wanting a fighter to lose. It reflects a deeper emotional connection to the fight that elevates it from a mere contest of skill and athleticism to a form of theater. The fighters are suddenly characters in a play with the fight and its outcome having a profound outcome on their narrative trajectories, and as viewers, we are emotionally engaged in that. Savvy promoters who appreciate this may find clever ways to engage our feelings, using various tools and devices to frame the story and its characters in a way that’s more gripping and engaging, where Fighter A becomes that person from Nowheresville who is looking for their big break while Fighter B is that person who’s been talking big and acting like they own the sport. Some readers might go further and call these characters Faces and Heels. That’s a line, however, that some fans don’t like to cross: scripted drama, they say, yet deliberate or not, the narrative process is exactly the same.

What then do we make of Cris Cyborg? The drama is well known and the key words require no elaboration: Steroids. Cheating. Ronda Rousey. Tito Ortiz. Dana White. Why do some fans (at least in the MMA world) choose to hate her? Because of her appearance combined with her accomplishments? Because they think all of her success is due to taking steroids despite only being busted once? Because she calls out Ronda Rousey? Does that make Rousey (ironically) the Face in all of this? Who’s writing the script now?

As powerful and *natural* as narrative is, sometimes it may blind us from appreciating something that’s far more important in this instance: that last night, Cris Cyborg and Jorina Baars put on one of the best fights of the year and possibly one of the all time best fights in women’s kickboxing. It was a battle that saw both fighters dig deep physically and technically, putting on a performance that was worthy of a stage far grander than the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. It was a spectacle that should rightly serve as a career highlight for both fighters, who each landed incredibly hard shots and rallied back from dangerous positions. This is a fight that we should be grateful for seeing with both fighters deserving our admiration and praise.

One of the best things about the K-1 promotional model was its tendency to highlight positive storylines and gloss over negative press. This could be frustrating at times when honesty was demanded, especially with regard to issues like Badr Hari’s behavior and fighter pay. Yet, the ability to sell these storylines allowed us to focus on the fights, not the mud and dirt of the fight business (which believe me, goes to far murkier depths than you or I will ever get to hear about). After all, does having a front row seat to situations that should play out behind closed doors really accomplish anything? Why are the petty squabbles between Dana White and Tito Ortiz every fan’s business? As fans, let’s focus on enjoying the fights and let the so-called “businesspeople” (such as they are) worry about the rest. Let’s enjoy the moment. If you’re new to kickboxing and watch MMA predominantly, I can say that last night, you got treated to a certain caliber of a fight (for free) and an experience that is rare, so rather than dwelling on what this means for Cyborg and the UFC, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible toughness of Cris Cyborg and the awesome talent of Jorina Baars.

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