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Glory 17: Glory Prepares to Distinguish Itself As a Combat Sports Brand

  • Published in News

Glory 17 is a turning point for Glory in many ways, marking its entry into the American PPV market by staging the largest, most significant kickboxing tournament on American soil in decades. But even more noteworthy than that, this event signifies the opportunity for Glory to truly distinguish itself as a unique combat sports product that is capable of delivering where other brands may falter, particularly the UFC. The UFC’s present difficulties are well known: problems with a ballooning roster, complaints about “boring” fights, and problems marketing fighters have led to great inconsistency in the quality of UFC events. Glory, on the other hand, has experienced few to no difficulties in this regard--and for very interesting reasons. In this article, I will talk about some of the things that I think make Glory a fairly unique entity in the combat sports world.

1. Each Glory weight class has more elite fighters than a single card can accommodate.

The Last Man Standing tournament is essentially a display of the entire Middleweight division, and it is a scary division, featuring Artem Levin, Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Wayne Barrett, Filip Verlinden, and Melvin Manhoef as well as dangerous contenders like Alex Pereira--all of these men are either champions, former champions, or fighters who have distinguished themselves against championship-level competition. Whereas some promotions might struggle to fill fight cards with less accomplished talent, Glory has the unique problem of struggling to fill fight cards with overqualified talent, bumping the likes of Levin to the non-televised SuperFight Series. If you ever find yourself wondering why a fighter like Giorgio Petrosyan gets to occupy the fourth slot on the Glory main card, it’s frequently because any Glory card could offer you a choice of several main event fights.

2. Glory has complete control of the rules of the sport.

No matter how many three or four-letter-name sanctioning bodies Glory will claim accountability to, the fact remains that Glory, as an organization in today’s combat sports market, is unique because of the complete control that it has on the rules of the sport. By frequently changing its clinch rules, its knockdown rules, and its 8-count rules, Glory has crafted and refined a viewing experience that is more fast-paced and exciting, producing a high volume of memorable fights and highlight reel moments. This is an ability that neither the UFC nor any other MMA organization possess, and the end result for them is a perpetual struggle to reconcile the Unified Rules of MMA with the type of fights that UFC wants to sell. Glory, by contrast, can eliminate any rule that negatively affects the viewing experience.

The flipside is that we also don’t have to talk about drug testing in the sport of Kickboxing. Glory is in a peculiar position here as well, operating between the lines of an oversight structure that is very dated and arguably unequipped to handle a multimillion dollar professional sport. Indeed, WKA’s official rules, published in 2011, leave drug testing up to the discretion of the “WKA supervisor, tournament promoters, and the official doctor,” who “can and may perform tests” but don’t necessarily have to do so unless directed by local law, making WKA’s actual responsibility very unclear. The procedure, standards, and logistics of testing are either mentioned in vague terms or not outlined at all. Glory, for its part, hasn’t forced the issue, leaving us to enjoy the fruits of ambiguity. In other words: don’t ask, don’t tell, and Pride never die.

3. Glory is learning how to market its fighters.

This is an issue that we’ve discussed several times here on LiverKick and which Dave Walsh expounded on in his excellent piece comparing kickboxing to the history of regional pro wrestling promotion. Behind every fight is an evolving narrative with at least two central characters, and as viewers, we’re interested in not only the fight itself but also in how the fight will determine the next chapter of the story. The promoter’s job is to build anticipation and interest in the fight and to illustrate what it means in the grand scheme of the division. With Glory 17, Glory has been proactive in producing media which tells us the story, including an excellent video on the rivalry between Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. The authenticity of this rivalry (for the critics’ sake) is as irrelevant as the authenticity of the 2009 rivalry between Badr Hari and Alistair Overeem--it felt real at the time and it electrified the atmosphere at the Saitama Super Arena. As Glory gains screen time on television and PPV, promotional efforts like this will be increasingly vital to its success.

While Glory got off to a rough start, it seems like the organization has found its identity as a kickboxing promotion and major combat sports brand. It is undeniably a unique presence in today’s sports entertainment market. If this event is a success and the Glory audience continues to grow, I think that Glory could become a leading company. Until then, you will have to join me in keeping fingers tightly crossed.

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Check Out GLORY's 20 Best Knockouts on Spike TV This Friday

  • Published in Glory

This Friday at 11pm Eastern time Spike TV will present a special one hour piece of programming highlighting some of the best action to happen thus far in a GLORY ring. Sure, it might be hard to contain all of that action into one hour, but they've opted to do a special on the 20 best knockouts, which is awesome. We've kind of been begging Spike for quite a while to give GLORY some more air time to promote their events and they are giving it to us right after Bellator this Friday.

This is all to promote GLORY 18, which goes down on November 7th live on Spike TV.

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GLORY 13 Super Fight Series to Air Live Via Internet PPV

  • Published in Glory

SFS

As we are all well aware of, the GLORY 13 card is astonishingly stacked. I mean that in every which way. Not just the main card, either, as the undercard, which GLORY has branded the Super Fight Series, is on its on an incredible event. While the main card features the GLORY 13 Welterweight tournament as well as Peter Aerts vs. Rico Verhoeven, the Super Fight Series card is just as stacked. Here is the card so far;

  • Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson Silva
  • Yuta Kubo vs. Mosab Amrani
  • Jerome Le Banner vs. Sergei Kharitonov
  • Ewerton Teixeira vs. Hesdy Gerges
  • Karim Ghajji vs. Aleksandr Stetsurenko
  • Artur Kyshenko vs. Mr. Kenwood

So what is the good news? For those of you wishing to watch the event live, you'll be able to! Tokyo Super Fight Series will be airing live via internet PPV on GloryWorldSeries.com and LiverKick.com (link forthcoming) for $20. GLORY has gone out of their way to get permission from their international broadcast partners to air the Super Fight Series card live via PPV and you'll be able to see it live. The event starts at 1:30 am Eastern time on Saturday, Dec. 21st. Due to regional restrictions, the GLORY 12 portion of the card won't air live in the United States, as we'll have to wait for the Spike TV broadcast of the event.

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A New Chapter for Cro Cop Ahead of Glory Debut

  • Published in News

Glory

Peter Aerts has shown us that while a 40-year-old body that has endured a lifetime of physical punishment may not respond as vigorously as it once could, a smart gameplan can still provide a path to victory for an older fighter. Aerts’ shocking upset of Semmy Schilt in 2010 and near upset of Rico Verhoeven in 2013 was a testament both to his unreal physical and mental toughness as well as to his ability to execute an effective gameplan that pushed his opponents out of their desired fighting styles. Indeed, adapting and finding a way to win is both Peter Aerts’ unique forte and the source of his career longevity, remaining in the top-10 across multiple decades and generations of fighters.

When 39-year-old Mirko Cro Cop makes his Glory debut, he will find himself in a division full of dangerous young opponents ranging from skilled technical fighters like Rico Verhoeven to bloodthirsty knockout artists like Daniel Ghita, Gokhan Saki, and Errol Zimmerman. After enduring years of trauma fighting through the ranks of K-1, Pride, and the UFC, Cro Cop will have to fight smart, trading physical prowess for intelligent and perceptive kickboxing. He will have to become a crafty and tactically adept fighter to stay afloat in a shark tank of heavyweight talent.

Perhaps sensing the need for reinvention, Cro Cop has actually developed a close-ranged dirty boxing style in his return to kickboxing. This tactic appears to have paid off for the Croatian, who has now gone 6-0 with notable wins over SuperKombat veterans Ismael Londt, Pavel Zhuravlev, and Loren Javier Jorge as well as young American upstarts Randy Blake and Jarrell Miller, controversial home town decisions notwithstanding. While his new style may not please those who wish to see Cro Cop turn back the clock, the move reflects Cro Cop’s growth as a fighter and signifies his maturing expectations. It’s a wise decision that has allowed him to remain competitive in today’s kickboxing world.

While a fight against semi-retired Remy Bonjasky may not necessarily provide great insight into Cro Cop’s place in the heavyweight division, it will undoubtedly offer kickboxing fans around the world the chance to see one of the great legends of the sport return to the sport’s grandest stage, and in 2014, following a year of upsets which saw long-held titles, ranks, and orthodoxies overturned, Cro Cop may have some surprises--which hopefully include some vintage LHK finishes--left in store.

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Nieky Holzken vs. Marc De Bonte Set for GLORY 16 Denver

  • Published in Glory

Holzken

On May 3rd in Denver, Colorado the stage has been set for GLORY 16 Denver. We already know that it will feature a Heavyweight contender tournament on the card, now we also know that there will be a GLORY World Championship fight on the card as well. Nikey Holzken vs. Marc de Bonte is set for May 3rd according to Holzken. This fight was originally slated for GLORY 14 Zagreb but was pulled and replaced by the GLORY Lightweight Championship fight.

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Video: Rico Verhoeven Feels That He Can Knock Errol Zimmerman Out

  • Published in Glory

Rico Verhoeven gets a chance at redemption against Errol Zimmerman this weekend in New York City. This video interview released by Glory shows Rico talking about the upcoming bout and how he feels like Errol runs his mouth too much and that Rico has grown as a fighter since their last battle, with plans on knocking Zimmerman out.

Stranger things have happened and Zimmerman is both hot and cold at times. This could be a huge win for Verhoeven.

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Check Out This Behind the Scenes From GLORY 10

  • Published in Glory

glory

GLORY 10 was this past weekend and most of us are still coming down from the buzz of it all, where we saw some great fights and a new Middleweight Champion crowned by the way of Joe Schilling. For GLORY, who are looking to make a big push into the United States, things couldn't have went better for them as there were multiple American stars born from outstanding performances. Ky Hollenbeck, Wayne Barrett and Joe Schilling put forth great efforts that really caught the world by fire.

So relive it and check out what was going on backstage during the event.

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GLORY's New CEO Promises October Return, More International Events

  • Published in Glory

GLORY's unannounced and relatively quiet break that begun after GLORY's Last Man Standing PPV had a lot of people up in arms. Many believed that the company was in dire straits and that there might not be another show. It was clear that there was originally a GLORY 18 scheduled and that it dissipated before it could even be publicly announced. Now GLORY has named a new CEO and he's published an open letter on GLORY's website to give a sort of state of the union address to fans. 

You can read it here, but here are the bullet points to take away from it.

  • GLORY's next event will be in October.
  • There is no announced location for it yet, but the canceled event was scheduled in the Chicago area.
  • He hints at wanting to take GLORY "back on the road" away from LA and NYC.
  • Also hints at more international events. 
  • Spike TV relationship will continue moving forward.
  • GLORY and Spike TV will be working together for more GLORY-based programming to air on Spike.
  • A show titled "Top Knockouts of Glory Countdown" is set to debut, possibly before the late October event.

There are a lot of positives in there, including the expanded programming on Spike TV. If there was one thing really hampering GLORY events on Spike TV it would probably be the distinct lack of extra programming to help raise brand awareness. GLORY is a newer brand to audiences and the sport of kickboxing is just as new to them as well, airing additional programming on Spike TV can only help out. 

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Saulo Cavalari is Ready for Anything in GLORY 18's Light Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Interviews

On Friday night at GLORY 18 Brazilian Saulo Cavalari will step into the ring at the GLORY Light Heavyweight tournament where he has a chance to win a shot at the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. It's a tough field, with him fighting Danyo Ilunga first before potentially facing either Zack Mwekassa or Brian Collette in the finals.

Cavalari was last seen in the ring against Tyrone Spong, impressing a lot of people who saw Spong as a clear-cut favorite. Our cameras caught up with him on Thursday to discuss the upcoming tournament where he revealed that he keeps in steady shape so that he doesn't have to cut weight and that he doesn't specifically prepare for any of his opponents, he's just ready for whatever might come.

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