LiverKick

Switch to desktop Register Login

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.

Read more...

Adidas Announces Partnership with Friday Night Fights

  • Published in Muay Thai

Sports apparel brand adidas has been making a big push into the world of Martial Arts over the past few months with their latest move being an interesting one, to say the least. Today adidas announced that they are teaming up with New York muay thai promotion Friday Night Fights. Adidas seems inspired to look outside of the box in their sponsorships and teaming with Friday Night Fights is a tremendous opportunity for the New York-based promotion that has been making waves for years.

“From our perspective as a brand that so many expect so much from, connecting with the right grass roots fight promotion means everything. Our objective is support the core audience and everyday blue & white collar warriors,”  “The women and men who embrace what it means to face your goals and improve yourself every night you hit the gym are who we care about. This is our company obsession. How do we serve these dedicated people and their beloved sport?  The answer is clear.: We form an alliance with Friday Night Fight’s.”

ACS’s Managing Director Scott Viscomi continues, “when you come to their events, you can feel the energy in the room, it’s electrifying! Justin and his team are long term pro’s who know what it takes to match great athletes, and entertain the people buying seats.  As we work to remind the core market of adidas’ long and rich history in Olympic Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and Boxing to Professional Boxing, MMA, and Kickboxing, we couldn’t have a better strategic partner than FNF to relaunch our Muay Thai programs."

Read more...

Pat Barry Added to Legacy Kickboxing Card in January

  • Published in Kickboxing

Former UFC fighter and current GLORY fighter Pat Barry was announced as an addition to January's Legacy Kickboxing event promoted by Legacy Fighting. The fight goes down on January 16th in Houston, Texas and Pat Barry will be fighting Demoreo Dennis. Barry is still under contract with GLORY but GLORY has given both Pat and Legacy the go-ahead for the fight. 

The fight will air on AXS TV and will be using a variation of the K-1/GLORY rule set, which means no elbows and limited clinch work. This is already adding to a card including Michael Corley and Cosmo Alexandre, which is great. It's good to see more kickboxing hitting the airwaves soon and bringing the heat. 

Read more...

Cro Cop vs. Bonjasky Gave Mirko's Mom Heart Palpatations

  • Published in Glory

Cro Cop

Apparently some fans were critical of Mirko Cro Cop from GLORY 14, not for his performance, not for his style having changed so drastically in the past few years and the lack of kicks or clean punches -- but because he didn't hang around to do interviews after the event. After the fight with Remy Bonjasky was over Mirko Cro Cop made his way backstage and then promptly left the arena, which led to speculation that he was possibly a bad sport over the controversial decision.

According to Cro Cop, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Cro Cop claims that he received a phone call that his mother was sick in the hospital. She suffered from heart palpitations and out of fear of a possible heart attack she was rushed to the hospital. Of course Mirko was going to make sure that his mother was okay and be by her side as opposed to answer silly questions about fighting. Cro Cop implied that while fighting is important, his family takes precedence over the fight industry, especially dealing with the press. This comes after the press found Cro Cop difficult to deal with leading up to the fight, which brings everything full circle. [source]

Read more...

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."

Read more...

Mirko Cro Cop Finishes Satoshi Ishii in Japan

  • Published in Kickboxing

New Year's Eve in Japan has been a tradition in combat sports for years now. Sadly, after the fall of FEG we've seen very little in the way of what we used to get with the huge Dynamite!! events in Japan. The days of Kakutougi being king in Japan have come and gone, but that doesn't mean that people don't try. 

There were a handful of events in Japan today, with the bigger ones being run by DEEP and Inoki Genome Federation. IGF featured the bigger names like Cro Cop, Satoshi Ishii, Shinya Aoki, Josh Barnett (pro wrestling, not MMA) and even hosting Fedor Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva as special guests. The story coming away from the event is that Mirko Cro Cop finished Satoshi Ishii with a left head kick to knock him off balance then following up with a flurry of punches to put him down and out. 

This means that Mirko Cro Cop begins 2015 by holding onto the IGF World Championship.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

FundAFighter Launches Campaign For Muay Thai Trainer Peter Sisomphou

  • Published in Muay Thai

Legendary Muay Thai trainer Peter Sisomphou has worked with countless top names in the world of martial arts over the years, including Firas Zahabi, David Loiseau, Ivan Menjivar and more. He's been a name within the world of martial arts for a very long time now and recently had to undergo a quadruple bypass surgery, which has a very long road to recovery. For a guy like Sisomphou, being in the gym and training fighters is how he makes his living and right now he is unable to do that.

FundAFighter has launched a campaign to raise money for Sisomphou while he is recovering to help to pay for his bills while he waits to get back into the gym and working again. Remember, the world of martial arts is not one that includes 401ks, sick pay and other luxuries found in desk jobs. So head over to FundAFighter to read more about Masta Peter Sisomphou and how you can help. 

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Copyright 2010 - 2014 LiverKick.com. All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version