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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.


Check Out Can't Stop Crazy's Family Business Vol. 1

  • Published in Kickboxing


Can't Stop Crazy isn't really a fight team, exactly, just like it isn't just a way of mind. Can't Stop Crazy is sort of a collective within the West Coast Muay Thai scene that features some of the best muay thai fighters in the country who are just friends with each other and look to help each other out. So when they all converged upon one location to help prepare for fights something cool happens, which was captured on video by Jeff Dojillo, and we will be happy to share with you on here.

Kevin Ross is preparing for a fight in Lion Fight come the end of September and Joe Schilling is preparing for the GLORY 10 Los Angeles Middleweight tournament, so both men will have their hands full come the end of September. Check out this video below.


StillWill Returns For An Official Badr Hari Documentary

  • Published in Kickboxing

If you've been reading the site for a while you are probably well aware of the name Will "StillWill" Prescott. Will has done some of the absolute best kickboxing and Japanese MMA highlight videos that there are in the world and probably ever will be. That has led to him getting a few pretty cool gigs, the latest of which is working with Badr Hari's team to present an unfiltered documentary about Badr Hari himself. The promise is that it will look at his career and his personal life, all playing out in an episodic manner much like "The Reem" or Spong's "King of the Ring."

This is just the trailer, but it has us pretty pumped up, that's for sure. 


The GLORY 11 Weigh-Ins and Staredowns

  • Published in Glory


Tonight at 9pm Eastern time GLORY 11 Chicago will be airing live on Spike TV. Pinch yourself, it's alright, we aren't judging. GLORY has graciously put up the weigh-in videos, so get your dosage of dudes in their skivvies having macho staredowns with each other before GLORY 11 goes down tonight. It's okay, we aren't judging, remember?


LiverKick Best of 2013: Comeback of the Year

  • Published in News

Photo (C) Pink Elephant Photography

The year 2013 was a tremendous year for the sport of Kickboxing as we saw GLORY take aim at America as one of its home bases and really made some strides that I honestly thought we’d never see for the sport here. GLORY not only ran shows, but they ran a bunch of shows and those shows were attended by a good number of paying customers. Then, to top it off, GLORY moved from CBS Sports Network and internet PPVs to Spike TV, picking up steam and viewers with every show. That was a big deal.

GLORY wasn’t the only organization to make moves, either, as we saw another season of the SuperKombat World Grand Prix, the birth of LEGEND in Russia and K-1 starting to get the gears in motion by running both a Heavyweight World Grand Prix and a World MAX tournament within the same year. But which company did what doesn’t really matter, what matters are the fights and the fighters.

Throughout the coming week we’ll be looking at the best of 2013 throughout multiple categories, with Monday featuring Fighter of the Year, Tuesday featuring Fight of the Year and Wednesday being Knockout of the Year. Today’s category is a little bit more fluid and up for discussion than the others, as today is Comeback of the Year. There have been a few fighters who either came back from a long layoff or returned to the big leagues and made a solid impression, making it an interesting topic.

LiverKick 2013 Comeback of the Year: Buakaw Banchamek

Few names in Kickboxing and Muay Thai hold the weight that Buakaw Banchamek’s does. Buakaw is a legend in every sense of the word, as in Thailand he might not be known as the best Thai Boxer, but he’s one of the most famous. This comes with its own set of consequences, though, as Buakaw has had a bumpy last few years that has seen him step back from a higher level of competition and instead get into the rhythm of taking either easier or exhibition bouts depending on the circumstances.

Buakaw fought his last fight for Thai Fight in December of 2012 and then that was it from Banchamek for months. In fact, he didn’t fight again until August of 2013 for MAX Muay Thai after yet another lawsuit, this time with Thai Fight, was settled. His year began at MAX Muay Thai 3 against Dong Wenfei in a bout that barely saw Buakaw warm up, leaving us all to fear that Buakaw would be back in “Thai Fight mode” just taking easier fights and having fun. Then, after years of rumors of him joining GLORY a huge announcement came out that Buakaw had signed with K-1 and would be entering the World MAX tournament.

His complete decimation of David Calvo in the Final 16 was proof enough that Buakaw was back and ready to show the Kickboxing world what they were missing out on. The rest of his year saw him defeat both Yoshihiro Sato and Enriko Kehl in MAX Muay Thai and in both fights looking like the Buakaw of old. Then on December 28th he battled a very game Zhou Zhi Peng before turning up the heat in the fourth round and dominating him.


Programming Note: GLORY Super Fight Series Fights From GLORY 10 Available for FREE

  • Published in Glory


This is what a lot of us have been waiting for; what will GLORY do with those "Super Fight Series" fights on their undercards? We spoke with them and found out that they'd be on their website, but it wasn't clear when they'd appear and if they'd cost money to watch or not. Well, today we stirred to find a nice surprise; the GLORY 10 undercard is up on their site and it is entirely free! That means that the fights that you missed can be viewed now on GLORY's website on demand for absolutely free while we get excited over GLORY 11 Chicago.

Here is the breakdown;


The Waning Relevancy of Heavyweights in a Changing Kickboxing Landscape

  • Published in News

Throughout the history of modern professional kickboxing there has been one lynchpin holding it all together, that has been heavyweights. There has always been an odd fascination with two goliaths, larger-than-life titans, stepping into the ring and throwing giant shots at each other. Smaller fighters have risen in popularity, but under the narrative of a David vs. Goliath, not usually within its own division. That isn’t to say that there aren’t staunch fans of two fighters of the same weight competing, because there are, but heavyweight fights have always been the featured attraction and appealed to the widest audiences. But these days it seems like heavyweight kickboxing is less and less relevant, with lighter weight classes taking center stage. You still can't deny that heavyweights are an attraction, though.

We are living in the wake of K-1’s glory days in heavyweight kickboxing. Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Remy Bonjasky, Ray Sefo, Ernesto Hoost and Jerome Le Banner are all retired. This generation of heavyweights has been rather thin thanks to a downturn in business and the advent of a viable light heavyweight weight class that has attracted some of the lighter heavyweights that would usually just tough it out with the bigger guys. The lack of huge paydays and giant backing like FEG had with Fujii TV in Japan has meant younger stars turning their attention to boxing or MMA where there are more assurances. 

There was temporarily a glimmer of hope on the horizon when GLORY kicked into high gear, as we saw in GLORY 4’s Heavyweight Grand Slam tournament. Of course, four of those fighters went on to drop in weight (Jurkovic, Bouzidi, Verlinden, Saki), three have since retired (Schilt, Aerts, Bonjasky), some faded from view (Guidon, Raoumaru) while others just haven’t fought in a very long time in the spotlight (Ghita, Kharitonov). In fact, if you were to look at the 16 fighters involved in that tournament only four of them are still active in GLORY’s heavyweight division (Verhoeven, Zimmerman, Braddock and Jamal Ben Saddik).

From a narrow view those are without a doubt four of GLORY’s top heavyweights at the moment. When browsing through GLORY’s rankings the only top contender that has been added in the years following GLORY 4 has been Benjamin Adegbuyi. A cursory look through their rankings is actually kind of depressing. Ben Edwards has decided to focus on boxing, older gatekeepers like Freddy Kemayo and Mladen Brestovac aren’t about the set the world on fire, nor will the new additions of the monotone Xavier Vigney or the spirited but still not quite there Chi Lewis Parry.

Looking at our own top ten (which will be revised as soon as Jay is done with his Hollywood responsibilities), for fighters outside of GLORY there is Hesdy Gerges, Andrei Gerasmichuk, Zabit Samedov and Ismael Londt. Gerges just lost to Jahfarr Wilnis, who oddly enough hasn’t been seen in a GLORY ring in quite some time. Most of these fighters are competing wherever they can draw a paycheck from and fighting infrequently, hardly moving up the ranks of the division.

Other bigger name heavyweights out in the wild are the ever-unpredictable Badr Hari, the young, still not in shape Ismael Lazaar and SuperKombat’s stable of Heavyweights including the part time Catalin Morosanu and the recently-returned Raul Catinas. The picture that I’m painting here is that of a heavyweight landscape that does little to inspire. That isn’t to say that there aren’t good heavyweights out there, but there has been a disconnect between the generations where there was very little overlap between them. The last K-1 World Grand Prix Champion was Alistair Overeem, who quickly hopped back to MMA after the fall of FEG’s K-1 and the last big heavyweight tournament champion was Semmy Schilt, who never fought against after GLORY 4. 

Rico Verhoeven has had impressive performances and is without a doubt the dominant world champion for the division right now, but the GLORY 11 tournament being a four-man and lacking in older, more established stars only hurt everyone involved. There wasn’t much of a narrative of Verhoeven overcoming greats to claim his top spot, just questionable downs against Gokhan Saki and a disputed win over Daniel Ghita. Even in winning the championship at GLORY 17 it was in a rematch with Ghita where Ghita fans are still crying foul after all of this time that Rico didn’t “do enough.” To no fault of Verhoeven’s there are not many top contenders left for him. The Zimmerman fight had that big fight feel to it, but Zimmerman’s freak injury took some of the shine off of it, and the rise of Benjamin Adegbuyi happened largely on non televised undercards, giving fans little reason to believe in or care about him. 

Heavyweight kickboxing right now is at a crossroads, living in a post-FEG era that can only be defined as fragmented and getting worse. So I want to ask you a question; who do you think will be the next big heavyweight kickboxing star? Is Rico Verhoeven the star that is slowly growing, or will the relative lack of competition hurt him in the long run? Or, has the rise of the smaller, more technical weight classes made the heavyweight spectacle a relic of the past now?

Right now it feels like while there are solid fighters in the heavyweight division, some of the talent that would usually prop it up has been dispersed to light heavyweight and even middleweight. That being said, fans still want to see heavyweights rumble.


GLORY Appoints New CEO, Next Show in October

  • Published in Glory

Things have been quiet on the GLORY front, which to many has been a bad sign, but we've been hearing reports from within the company about "big things" happening, including some shifts. The first of those shifts was announced today when GLORY unveiled that Jon J. Franklin has been appointed as the new CEO for the organization, replacing Andrew Whitaker. Whitaker will remain with the organization in an advisory role, working mostly with the television aspect of the brand.

Jon J. Franklin, based out of Denver, has been working with GLORY for a while now with his company, The Sports Entertainment Company. Franklin has also served in senior roles for IMG-Media, was President of Golden Gloves Boxing and worked with AP-X. His extensive history within the realm of boxing can only help GLORY further at this point. 

Some might be concerned over the change at this point, especially after a period of relative silence, but this is actually a good thing. This shows that GLORY is thinking to the future and that they are looking to revise their direction for the future. As someone who worked previously within the world of corporate PR and IR, CEO changes are a very common occurrence in many organizations, with the idea being to keep fresh ideas and direction for organizations. 

Also, according to an interview given to MMAMania, Franklin stated that they would be returning in October, which aligns with a statement we received from within GLORY about a month ago.


Glory 33 Live Results

  • Published in Glory

Its time for Glory and we will be here with the Live Results and on Twitter @JayJauncey. There should definitely be some exciting fights on this card not to mention Braddock's chance to finally break his barrier and be at the very top of the heavyweight division.

Glory 33 Results

HW Title: Rico Verhoeven (R2 KO) Anderson "Braddock" Silva -- Well, Rico looked amazing High kicks, low kicks, angles, nice counter punches everything was on point. Eventually he dropped Braddock 3 times in 2nd round twice with low kicks and one with a left high kick to get the victory. If Badr doesn't take this fight seriously hes in big trouble.

Tournament Final: Matt Embree (R2 KO) Giga Chikadze -- First round was pretty even round until the final second when Embree caught Gigas kick and landed an amazing overhand dropping Chikadze but he was saved by the bell. 2nd round Embree comes out hard and finally lands that overhand right again and Chikadze is falls like a sack of potatoes. I am really impressed with Embree, his hands have never looked so great, if he fight like this he can give either Van Roosmalen or Varga problems.

Guto Inocente (Majority Dec) Hesdy Gerges -- Frustrating fight, with Inocente moving well and throwing spinning techniques but holding as soon as Gerges got close. Gerges was the aggressor the whole fight but neither men landed much of significance. Not sure I agree with that decision though, Hesdy and winning decisions do not go hand in hand.

FW semi: Matt Embree (R2 TKO) ChiBin Lim -- 1st round Embree looking great using hard punches and a few low kicks, while Lim covers up lots. 2nd round both fighters go for a left hook but Embrees lands first and drops Lim, Embree swarms Lim once hes up and lands a monster left hook and drops Lim at the bell but 2 knockdowns means the fights over.

FW semi: Giga Chikadze (Majority Dec) Serhiy Adamchuk -- First and 2nd round are very close rounds with both guys throwing kicks from a distance very hard to score. 3rd round Adamchuk turned up the heat a bit and started landing some nice punches and a high kick.

Super Fight Series Results

MW Title: Jason Wilnis (R3 - TKO) Simon Marcus -- Marcus looks on fire in round 1 just like their previous fight. 2nd round was pretty close until Marcus decided to drop his hands and act cocky in the corner and Wilnis landed a few punches and ref decided to give him an 8 count, I personally thought he was acting but the ref can see his eyes better than us. 3rd round Wilnis wobbles Marcus with a right hand and drops him with a combo, then drops him again, and swarms 1 more time and the ref has seen enough, Wilnis is the new Middleweight champ.

Chi Lewis-Parry (R2 - TKO) Anthony Mcdonald -- Chopper took the first round really easy almost didn't do anything seemingly waiting for the short notice opponent to gas in the 2nd round which worked perfectly and after dropping Mcdonald twice with knees and punches in the 2nd, Mcdonald couldn't answer the bell for Rd 3.

Jessica Gladstone (Majority Dec) Daniela Graf -- Gladstone being the much taller fighter used her reach with body kicks and straight punches to keep Graf away until the 3rd round when Graf started to land a few punches but it was too little too late. Great fight by Gladstone especially taking this fight on a week notice.

Francois Ambang (Unanimous Dec) Daniel Morales -- Very close fight, Morales improved greatly from their first by training at Coliseum but Ambang just looked like he was throwing with more power and explosiveness which ultimately won him the fight. If Morales keeps this improvement up hes going to become a solid fighter for this weight class.

Kevin VanNostrand (R2 - TKO) David Moore -- Moore was absolutely out of his league in this fight here. In round one Van Nostrand was picking him apart and Moore literally turtled and turned his back, which... Yikes. Van Nostrand looks good and gets a quick stoppage in the second round, but Moore was so clearly out of his league here.



Lion Fight 12 Results and Highlights

  • Published in Americas

Lion Fight

Well, just like we all predicted, Lion Fight 12 made a big impression on AXS TV with some really entertaining fights tonight. We saw a Welterweight Champion crowned, we got to see Tiffany Van Soest once again show why she's one of the best female fighters we've ever seen and hell, we even got to see an elbow KO. Elbow KOs are a thing of beauty and somewhat unique to the sport of Muay Thai, which makes it a thing of beauty when it happens.

So here are the quick and dirty results as well as a highlight from AXS TV.

  • Lion Fight Welterweight Title: Fabio Pinca (R5 - UD) Malaipet
  • Tiffany Van Soest (R3 - TKO) Magali Foroni
  • Jason Andrada (R5 - KO) Mohammed Lemjerdine
  • Nick Chasteen (R5 - UD) Chris Culley
  • Stephen Richards (R5 - UD) Glen Spencer Jr.
  • Anthony Castrejon (R1 - KO) Miguel Rosales

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