Right now is probably one of the best times to be a kickboxing fan in the United States in over 30 years. If you stop to think about that it is almost hard to imagine. My introduction to K-1 came in the mid-90's from my Kenpo instructor who let me borrow a few tapes of his that led to a spiral of insanity involving having my mom drive me into the city to go to the one store in the mall that imported anime and manga and occasionally had Japanese wrestling and fighting tapes available.
To say that it was difficult to follow kickboxing back then is an understatement. The advent of the internet made it easier to find tape traders and other people with similar interests, but it was still a process that involved waiting long periods of time for retail tapes to be released or for events to air on television. Things go easier when DVDs became all of the rage and everyone had a DVD burner, but it was still a pain. Hell, even when internet streams first came about it got easier yet.
Things now are almost laughable. You have streaming video that you can watch on mobile devices, you have promotions releasing their own fights for free and guess what? We have GLORY on Spike TV. There has never been this much access to high level kickboxing in the United States. Hell, GLORY even runs a lion's share of their events here in the United States, so you can go and see these fights live. That's insanity, even the best American kickboxers had to go overseas to fight before, now they have a home in America.
We can lament on the fact that GLORY's inaugural PPV event wasn't a UFC beater, we can make predictions and excuses, but the truth is; that isn't going to help anyone. GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing were tremendous events and they were available to us -- one on Spike TV for free, the other on PPV -- live as they happened. Hell, if you were in the LA area you could have picked up some cheap tickets and gone there yourself.
There's a good chance if you are watching this that you probably live in North America (our stats tell us that, although we have tons of great readers from around the globe), there's also a great chance that you are a fan of kickboxing (why else would you be here?). If we look back at how the UFC grew in popularity it's easy to realize that it was as unscientific as it gets. It was almost random, it was the right elements at the right time making a perfect storm. It was fans talking about it, telling their friends about it, calling their friends to say "hey you gotta watch this fight." It was having that infectious passion that other people caught onto.
If you want kickboxing and GLORY to succeed here, watching it and supporting it is a great start, but maybe it's time to let people know about it. Maybe it's time for it to be more than just a hobby that you share with a few fight fans on Twitter. Let the world know about this, tell your friends, support local events and fighters, post stuff on your Facebook, your Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. Be that annoying guy that everyone sees and says, "man, he's really into this." Why? Because people will remember it. They'll remember you talking about it, they'll know something about it and they might even check it out for themselves.
The product sells itself, it just needs those eyeballs. You and I, we can help with that. We might not be able to get into the ring at this level, we might not be able to get ESPN to cover it, but with time, anything is possible.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.