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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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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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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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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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Can Pat Barry Move the Needle For GLORY?

  • Published in News

GLORY

This weekend at GLORY 16 we'll see the GLORY Kickboxing debut of Pat Barry. Pat Barry is perhaps best known from his run in the UFC, where he was involved in some truly memorable fights, some of the most memorable in UFC history. Of course, part of the problem with being a UFC fighter is that the UFC promotes the brand first, Dana White second, their shows third and somewhere along the way the fighters. This creates an atmosphere devoid of individual stars.

Pat Barry's jump to GLORY is a huge win for GLORY, seeing as though Pat Barry is a marketable personality and a talented striker. The question is, will he give them an immediate injection of credibility? The data from Google Trends tends to say "no."

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Daniel Cormier Willing to Fight Gustafsson For Interim Title

  • Published in MMA News

The rematch between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship is supposed to be next up for Jon Jones, but right now Jon Jones is in the middle of contract negotiations with the UFC. Those contract negotiations have led to a bit of a rift between the UFC and Jon Jones at the moment, with Dana White acting frustrated with Jones. Now, let's be honest here, Jon Jones is one of the UFC's real big stars at this point and their Light Heavyweight Champion, the guy should be allowed to negotiate his contract without getting run down in the press.

Daniel Cormier has decided to toss his hat into the ring already, though. He is ready to go and would be willing to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the Interim Light Heavyweight Championship. Sounds crazy, right? Well, knowing the UFC, it might not be. If the UFC wanted to apply pressure to Jones all they'd have to do is imply that he could be replaced and have an Interim title fight. 

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Photo of the Day: Cro Cop Wants You to Cuddle a Puppy

  • Published in Glory

Cro Cop

At GLORY 14 in Zagreb Mirko Cro Cop is primed to square off against Remy Bonjasky, but before then, he wants to cuddle with puppies. Yes, you read that correctly. Mirko Cro Cop took part in a campaign in Croatia to raise awareness of animal abuse by posing for photos with a puppy. I concur, dogs are amazing and anyone who harms one is a terrible person, so we stand with Cro Cop because dogs and puppies are the best.

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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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Kickboxing's Role in a Time of Turmoil

  • Published in News

Nabiev

I try to follow the elite fighters of the world on social media, Facebook, twitter, and on Instagram. Despite the language barrier, the fighters usually post things in English, or post a picture with a smily face or something, allowing me to keep up. So as I go down my Instagram wall, I notice that Russian based(Dagestani by birth) fighter Dhabar Askerov had been posting pictures of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Now again, I don't understand the words that accompany the picture, but I will say that Putin looks pretty damn cool in the pictures. Often wearing shades and seems to cool to be bothered by the events of the world. Adding to this, Artem Levin is another Russian fighter who has several pictures of himself and the National Muay Thai team with President Putin. In fact, international Russian fighter Artem Vahkitov is in one of the pictures with Putin, all of the men proud to be in the presence of one another. I also follow Ukrainian kickboxing star Artur Kyshenko. As I watched his recent post on Instagram I noticed that he has crossed himself out of the Legend poster, the Russian promotion that used him on their card last year. Adding to this, Kyshenko recently posted a pick of him in his Ukrainian youth, wearing his national colors at the podium of an amateur Muay Thai event. It most be noted that there is a chance this is complete coincidence, as the youth pick is a comparison pick and Kyshenko was injured after the first fight in the tournament, so he could have crossed himself out because of that. Also, I do not think that the fighters are in anyways enemies, but as one could imagine, there is no way that they couldn't be effected by the events between the Ukraine and Russia.

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